UK to drop Electric Car Incentives
|   Friday, October 04, 2013
There are some people who think that the era of electric cars is nigh, and some who firmly believe that that era is still decades in the future. It is hard to say who is right, but the balance does tend to favor the latter category. And there is also a piece of data that gives the doubters some fresh ammo.
It recently came via UK's Daily Mail that the Government will be renouncing the incentives offered for buying electric cars. The incentive's value was 5000 Pounds, roughly 8,000 dollars.


According to some organization, it appears that that figure is not nearly enough to encourage individuals and fleet owners to turn to electrical cars instead of conventional ones. The poor sales registered in the UK seem to give credit to that opinion, which brought about the decision to give up on the incentive. This is indeed a blow to manufacturers and buyers. Or is it?

For a while it was speculated that companies like Toyota and GM actually inflated the price by 5,000 Pounds, thus making the incentive pretty much worthless. If the price goes up by that amount, that idea becomes baseless, but if it stays the same, buyers will suddenly see that they were more or less ripped off. In any case, electric and plug-in cars will receive a big blow.

However, there is also the matter of poor information dissemination among the UK press and consumers. Most know very little about this type of car because there is close to no advertising done. The usual media channels, TV, radio, print media, tell very little about EVs. Therefore, the general public must be really determined to find any reliable information about such a vehicle.

The greater fault for that lies with automakers, which prefer to advertise other vehicles, primarily efficient diesel powered cars. In Europe, as opposed to the US, diesel powered cars enjoy a very high degree of popularity. The fact that every gas station also provides this fuel type helps a lot with the popularity index. So, people prefer to buy an efficient and proven diesel model than a plug-in car.

Last, but not least, there are many influential personalities in the UK media that frequently look down on electrical and plug-in vehicles. A popular example is Top Gear, a highly successful show that likes to point out the weaknesses of these cars and sending the message that they are not yet ready for the main stage.

As we could see, there is enough guilt to go for everybody for the incentives' failure at boosting sales. We do think that giving up on them is not the correct way to handle this situation. Instead of giving up, another approach should be used based primarily on properly informing the public about EVs, including their advantages in addition to the cons.

The truth is that the issue regarding range anxiety is indeed an issue, but not so much considering that most commutes are well within the electrical range of a Leaf or Prius, for example. But if no one or very few understand that, the sales figures will continue to stay low.
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