The Government’s £37m investment in Britain’s electric vehicle recharging infrastructure (Report, 20 February) is a major step forward in increasing consumer confidence. However, there are still two barriers to the adoption of EVs.
The first is the need to overcome drivers’ worry about running out of power, and this funding announcement is only one element of the solution. Battery technology developments will still be needed and future plans also need to take into account developments in hybrid and hydrogen-powered vehicles as additional low carbon solutions.
The second barrier is cost of ownership. The purchase price of EVs could increase if the current grant arrangements are not extended beyond 2015 or met with an equal reduction in sales price. Equally, introducing a ‘benefit in kind’ liability under the company car taxation regime will further increase the costs of low carbon vehicles.
A final practical solution to ‘tip the balance’ towards EVs relates to incentives such as free or reduced parking or use of bus lanes. In Oslo, where EVs can use bus lanes, EV uptake is twice as high as in rest of Western Europe.
David Rees leads PA's local government services
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