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‘The Government is doing nothing to make electric cars more attractive’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks electric cars were largely forgotten in the latest Budget

Opinion - Renault Scenic

The reaction to the latest Budget seems to be of a missed opportunity. Freezing fuel duty again doesn’t exactly put money back into drivers’ pockets, as some politicians are claiming, while there was no sign of any incentives at all around electric cars.

Here’s the thing I can’t understand: we’re heading towards an all-electric new-car future and, okay, it’s slightly further away than originally planned. And the makers are being told they must sell more electric cars now – with fines imposed upon them if they don’t.

The Government is doing nothing to make the cars more attractive to us private buyers with any form of incentive other than lower road fund license, yet it is pushing the car industry to sell more of the cars people don’t seem to want right now to people who don’t want them. And if the manufacturers don’t, they’ll be fined.

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We’re critical enough of the car industry at times, but I do have some sympathy with those in the business who are being told by the Government to push water uphill.

There are plenty who think the Government shouldn’t be incentivising the purchase of a car that isn’t attractive enough to buyers in the first place. But the simple fact is, if they were cheaper (with the same applying to public charging), it would remove one of the barriers to EV ownership and more people would buy them.

There’s more to this, though. The UK is in a battle to keep jobs here and not see them go elsewhere – and our car industry employs the best part of a million people.

In other countries where subsidies exist for EVs, private buyers are choosing them. That’s not only good news for the economy, but also for potential investment, with businesses – including car makers, battery makers, chip makers, etc – all looking to Europe for expansion. We need to do what we can to protect jobs in our car industry, and any government needs to play its part.

Should more be done to help electric car sales? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section...

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Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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