Great Britain is lagging behind its own targets for spending to support electric car use, prompting calls for more to be done to keep pace with other countries.
Just a third of the £400 million promised between 2010 and 2015 to support uptake has been spent or earmarked for projects, according to government figures. Many in the industry believe that, in the long term, electric cars will replace oil-powered vehicles, but consumer fears about charging the cars, and the distance that one charge will allow them to drive – so-called “range anxiety” – are stumbling blocks for sales.
The UK’s failure to invest in vital infrastructure such as an easily accessible, widespread network of charging points is a serious block to demand, automobile industry executives have said.
“There is a disconnect between the rhetoric, which is supportive, and the actions,” an industry official told the Financial Times. “The key thing is infrastructure. And this is the main area of disappointment,” said the official. “You’re looking around, and saying ‘I can’t see any chargers anywhere’, and therefore you have range anxiety.”
UK drivers bought just 2,538 electric cars in the first nine months of the year. In Norway, a country with a population less than a tenth of Britain, double that number was sold. In France, the figure was 6,300.
The government pledged £ 400 million to supporting the vehicles in the UK in the five years to March 2015. But as of 30 September 2013, only 92 millions had been spent, including only 16 millions on infrastructure such as public charging points. A further 44 millions have been committed for projects up to March 2015. Of this, £12m will be on infrastructure, according to data from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, a government body.
Britain has about 5,000 public car charging points – most of which take more than four hours to charge a battery. Crucially, only 220 are rapid chargers, which can replenish most of a battery’s charge in about 20 minutes, making them far more useful for drivers.
Via Financial Times