Electric car boom faltering in Burnley due to lack of government subsidies
Enthusiasm for electric cars has dampened in Burnley following government cuts to subsidies from November 2018, new statistics show.
With discounts on fully and partially electric cars from the Department for Transport cut from £4,500 to £3,500, the Renewable Energy Association, which lobbies on behalf of renewable energy companies, says lower cash incentives for green cars has taken its toll, mostly among plug-in hybrid vehicles.
In March, there were only 15 new electric vehicles registered in Burnley compared to the same month last year, with the latest Department for Transport statistics showing the number of registered electric or plug-in hybrid cars, vans, and micro-cars (quadricycles) in Burnley.
At the beginning of 2018, there were 60 electric vehicles, while by March this year, there were 75 - a 25% increase from March last year, lower than the 25% rise registered between 2017 and 2018.
Across the UK, the number of plug-in electric cars rose by 38% over the last year, the smallest increase since the Government started offering subsidies for purchasing green vehicles in 2011, and much lower than the 150% increase in 2015.
"The removal of the plug-in car grant has unsurprisingly had a negative impact on the sale of electric vehicles," said Stuart Pocock, chief operating officer at the Renewable Energy Association. "However, the majority of the decrease can be attributed to the decrease in the sale of hybrid vehicles.
"The overall growth slowdown of electric vehicles could signal a move away from petrol and diesel hybrids towards the greater uptake of battery electric vehicles," he added. "If we are to improve air quality and reach net zero emissions by 2050 we need to speed up the move towards battery electric vehicles and a rise in the sale of these signals a step in the right direction."
One advantage electric car users have over other vehicles is that they do not have to pay road tax, as they do not release any emissions, while electricity is also far cheaper than petrol and diesel, and green drivers have the satisfaction of helping save the planet.
Plug-in vehicles still make up a tiny percentage of the cars on the road in Burnley: compared with 75 the electric cars on our roads, there are 43,000 vehicles in total.