Electric car sales are still struggling, with just 308 models bought through the Government’s grant scheme during the third quarter of the year.
A subsidy of up to £5,000 has been available to buyers of EVs since January, but despite the discount, motorists have proved reluctant to move away from conventional cars. Just 465 electric vehicles were registered in the first quarter of the year, and the number more than halved to 215 in the second quarter.
The rapid decline in sales suggests that even a £5,000 discount is not enough of an incentive to tempt motorists into electric cars. A total of £43million is available through the electric car grant scheme – enough for 8,6000 cars – but it seems unlikely that even a fraction of that will be used. So far, less than £4million of available grant money has been spent.
The situation in the UK mirrors the lack of interest in electric cars across Europe. Research by JATO Dynamics shows that the number of people buying EVs remains low even in countries that are offering as much as £18,000 in subsidies.
Just 85 electric vehicles were purchased in Belgium in the first half of 2011, despite the available 10,907 euro (£9,496) subsidy. Over the same period, a mere 850 EVs found homes in Norway, despite a hefty 17,524 euro (£15,256) incentive. And 238 cars were bought in Denmark where the Government tempts buyers with an incredible 20,588 euros (£17,924) in grants and subsidies.
Update: this story has been amended. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have contacted Auto Express to inform us that the figure of 106 EV sales for Q3 published by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles is incorrect.
But what would it take for you to buy an electric car? Tell us below...