Ministers were accused yesterday of “misleading” the public about the popularity of electric vehicles, as it turned out less than a quarter of them are bought by private motorists.
Industry data shows that in the first six months of 2023, only 24 percent of sales went to private buyers, while the rest was bought by companies.
It’s a setback to the government’s target of banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, as convincing the UK’s more than 30 million drivers to make the switch is one of the biggest hurdles.
Officials have boasted that “one in five” vehicles sold last year was a plug-in electric vehicle and that “electric vehicle sales will surpass diesel for the first time in 2022.”
However, critics said the industry figures showed that this was “misleading” because it obscured the fact that it was mainly driven by companies.
This has also led to growing calls for more financial support to help private buyers switch to electric vehicles, provided the ban is not delayed until 2030, as the UK is the only major European economy without incentives for private buyers.
Ministers were accused yesterday of ‘misleading’ the public about the popularity of electric vehicles (file image)
Electric cars are priced up to £10,000 more than their petrol or diesel equivalents, making them unaffordable for many motorists.
Industry figures for January through June show that of 152,968 electric vehicles sold, only 37,055 (24.2 percent) were purchased by private buyers.
A total of 106,697 (69.8 percent) were “fleet purchases,” related to companies buying 25 or more electric vehicles at a time to decarbonize their operations, such as taxi companies. Another 9,216 were bought by smaller companies.
Craig Mackinlay, Tory MP and head of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, said: “The generous capital allowance regime and low in-kind tax for electric vehicles are the reasons they are being bought by fleet and corporate buyers.”
“It’s an untenable tax fraud that has distorted rational behavior.”
“Electric vehicles also remain extremely unpopular with private buyers due to fear of range, high purchase prices, poor availability of charging options and complete ignorance of the resale and used value.”
“It doesn’t help ministers to sugarcoat the facts while trying to justify the stupid proposal to ban new internal combustion engine cars and vans by 2030.”
Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK campaign, added: “As part of the government’s senseless and hugely costly journey to net zero – specifically the draconian ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2030 – they are trying to tell us this through their propaganda machinery. “ Electric car sales are booming among the general public. This could not be further from the truth and is misleading.
“This only serves to promote a green dream.” Private motorists do not stand in line to buy or lease new electric vehicles because they are exorbitantly expensive to buy. Only well-financed companies can afford them.
“These figures show how absurd the government’s target for 2030 is.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is under increasing pressure to abandon the 2030 target over concerns about costs for motorists and because publicly available chargers are being rolled out too slowly.
This comes after a survey for The Daily Mail conducted by Survation in July found that just 28 percent of the public think the 2030 ban is a good idea, compared to 53 percent who think it is a bad idea.
And just 29 percent said they would be confident about buying an electric car as their only vehicle given the current infrastructure. On the other hand, 39 percent were not confident.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is under increasing pressure to abandon the 2030 target
Official figures released last week show that as of 1 July there were 44,020 public access electric vehicle chargers across the UK. This is a rise from 40,150 on April 1st.
This means that around 43 new chargers are put into operation every day.
However, to meet the government’s goal of having 300,000 in service by 2030, about 110 will need to be built every day.
There are also big differences between regions: in London there are 152 publicly accessible chargers per 100,000 inhabitants.
But in the North West it’s only 39 per 100,000, in the East Midlands 43 per 100,000 and in Yorkshire and Humber 45 per 100,000.
Publicly available chargers are crucial to easily meet the government’s 2030 target, as an estimated 40 percent of households do not have access to off-street parking, such as a private driveway.
This means that they cannot install their own socket point at home and have to rely on publicly accessible sockets.
Ministers have recently insisted that the 2030 ban is set in stone but have indicated they will instead look at ways to protect ordinary families from the huge costs of green politics in order to draw a dividing line with Labor before the next election. to pull party.
It will be one of the biggest challenges for new Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho, who replaced Grant Shapps last month.
Mike Hawes, executive director of industry association The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “Businesses and fleets – unlike private buyers – benefit from tax incentives to switch to battery electric vehicles, so it’s no surprise that they account for the lion’s share of current electric vehicles make out.’ Registrations.’
The Ministry of Transport has been contacted for comment.
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