UK Cold to the Electric Vehicle


In a recent survey conducted by specialist insurance firm Adrian Flux, only about two percent of individuals in the UK would be most likely to purchase an electric vehicle in the next half decade.

The company surveyed a thousand of its clients and it found that about seventy percent would not consider switching to electric vehicles. The remaining twenty eight percent still have that wait and see attitude as to how the market unravels in the next few years.

Despite such cold reception to electric cars, the market is further opening up to the idea of making these vehicles a staple on UK roadways. There are about thirty new fully electric range extended and hybrid models that would hit UK showrooms in the next year and a half. Electric car naysayers have also been assured that the recharging infrastructure for electric cars is also in full throttle, with 654 charging points in Metro London alone. This is more than any other city in the European Union, where many cities of the UK that dominate the top ten in EV accommodating cities.

Expense still is a major issue, despite the grants amounting to about £5,000 for each purchase of an electric car. According to Gary Bucke of Adrian Flux Insurance Services, the reluctance to switch to these electric vehicles are attributable to the perceived ‘hassle’ of a vehicle relying on charging for power.

He said, “People are worried that they can’t just ‘drive and go’ and that they will have to plan ahead depending on how far they plan to travel each day and the ‘range’ of their car. Although the majority of people’s car journeys are short, they still want to know that – if they choose – they could travel long distances in their car without having to worry about finding a charging station. There are options available, such as range extended electric cars with petrol or diesel generators to provide extra electricity and hybrid cars which recover energy from the movement and braking of the car.”

Despite the promise of lower fuel costs, there are other areas that electric car owners would incur expenses aside from the high purchase amount. Bucke adds, “In insurance terms, insurers still have reservations about electric cars mainly based on their cost and the disposal of the batteries, which can push up the premiums.”

This though can surely be corrected with the new program instituted by the European Union. This program is a four year €41.8 million partnership to improve the up-take of electric cars throughout the Union.

The goal of the program is to develop the know-how and experience in selected regions throughout Europe as well as improve the acceptance of electric vehicles throughout Europe. According to European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas, “Transport is current 96 per cent dependent on oil for its energy needs. This is totally unsustainable. The Tranpsort 2050 Roadmap aims to break transport’s current oil dependency and allow mobility to grow.”

Europe Provides Incentives for EV Purchases

Pay Per Mile Taxation
Pay Per Mile Taxation

Taking the lead of the U.S., European governments have started to institute incentive plans for individuals purchasing electric vehicles. The programs instituted in their individual countries are designed to assist the purchaser in managing the high cost of the electric vehicle purchase as well as spur sales for this new vehicle designed to assist the environment in the long run.

There are differing levels though of electric vehicle consciousness in European countries. The United Kingdom, Norway and Portugal are already in the process of putting up electric vehicle infrastructures to serve the burgeoning electric car population through driving privileges and well-placed electric chargers on main thoroughfares. Other countries impose taxes on carbon dioxide emissions on internal combustion engine cars and tax incentives for plug-in vehicles.

The American way is to provide a federal tax credit of $7,500, the amount determined by battery size. In Europe though, the amount of the perk receivable is dependent upon the amount of carbon emissions produced by the car. Thus, electric cars have zero emissions making it the most eligible for the largest incentives. The following are the other incentives provided by the individual countries in Europe:

Austria. Aside from the provided tax breaks for the purchase of the electric vehicle, the owners are also exempt from a fuel consumption tax and provides bonuses to low or no carbon dioxide emissions, which can amount to as much as $1,120 per month.

France. There is a credit of $7,000 for new electric vehicle purchasers while internal combustion engine car owners are required to pay $3,650 under this program.

Germany. This great automaking country is lagging behind but with new programs being instituted allowing for a five year period giving tax exemptions to electric vehicles in the annual motor vehicle tax. In ten years, the tax would be doubled.

Britain. Under current levels, the rebates an electric vehicle owner can reach up to $8,000 in a stepladder schedule until 2016. Daily, electric cars are exempt from the $13 daily congestion charge and free parking for limited times. For the year, the electric car is exempt from the vehicle excise tax imposed on carbon emissions amounting to $1,500.

Luxemborg. For purchasers, there is an electric car purchase rebate amounting to $4,200 but the recharging, to avail of the full amount, must be from renewable energy sourced charging stations.

Norway. There are no monetary privileges for electric car owners but they can avail of free parking as well as free charging in electric vehicle parking lots. Electric cars can also use taxi and bus lanes and go through tolls and park for free. These progressive owners can also avail of tax and import duty exemptions as well as congestion charges and fees.

Portugal. There is an estimated public network of 1,350 charging stations throughout the country. The electric car owner can also receive a rebate of up to $7,000 as well as an added $2,100 if the previously owned internal combustion engine car is scrapped. There is also a tax exemption amounting to $1,114.

Spain. The federal government provides a rebate of up to 25% of the sticker price of the electric car. Local authorities can provide up to $8,400 in rebate for the purchase.

Solons Propose Billions in Tax Incentives for Electric Car Sales


As the President of the United States called for the popularization of electric cars in the latest State of the Union address, two solons have proposed bills that would provide billions in incentives for future car purchasers.

Rep. Sander M. Levin and Sen. Carl M. Levin, both of Michigan, have proposed to double the coverage of the program to $7,500 in incentives to buy plug-in electric vehicles like the popular Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf.

Once consumers put their money down for electric cars and more car makers produce them, the new coverage provided include incentives that would eventually total to $19 billion in tax credits spread over the next decade.

According to Rep. Levin, it is a lot of money and if consumers take the credits, it would mean that the program works. This is in line with Obama’s goal setting one million electric vehicles by 2015 in America’s roads.

The incentives are important to achieve the goal as electric vehicles are much more expensive, a great part of it goes to the cost of batteries. The Volt’s SRP is at $41,000 while the Leaf’s SRP is $32,780, a far cry from a regular internal combustion vehicle at $20,000 a pop. The program would boost sales for automakers while the incentives would go to the “early adopters”, often those well-off and well-heeled set.

In the previous version of the bill, the incentive amount of $7,500 was for allotted for the first 250, 000 purchasers and $200,000 for the manufacturer. This bill expands that to allpurchasers, with the manufacturers enjoying $500,000 overall.

Vice President Biden also has gone on campaign stumps pushing for the electric car agenda. He was at a battery plant in Indiana last Wednesday, where he announced the need for greater programs in research and development into electric car technology. He also envisioned a competitive grant program that offer communities up to $10 million to develop the support infrastructure for electric cars in their roadways.

This program in the President’s speech, hopes to break the dependence on foreign oil andreduce greenhouse gases and other pollutants in the environment. Critics though have pointed out that previous programs aimed at reducing dependence on foreign oil by focusing on alternative fuel sources. These programs though still have not been able to create a commercially viable vehicle. By focusing on another fuel technology source such as electricity, the funds and efforts put into the other programs would go to waste.

Another criticism would be the pegged amount of $7,500 as incentives, since they say that the amount is too small to justify the benefit, which is environmental preservation. The current roster of vehicles, such as the Leaf and the Volt, have no tailpipes to spew out exhaust gases. They are powered by rechargeable batteries relying on electricity. Electricity is still being produced by coal fired power plants that produce pollution.

In a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute, project lead John deCicco had calculated the amount of greenhouse gas emissions a Toyota Prius produces compared to the Leaf and Volt. He found that the Prius is still the most cost-effective way in the reduction of greenhouse gases compared to pure electricity. When you factor in the pollution from the coal powered plants to produce electricity to charge the Leaf and the Volt, the Prius still is cleaner than the other two.

In response, environmentalists are pushing for the power generators to produce cleaner electricity, which in turn adds on to the environmental viability of the electric cars. This would in turn help the country become safe and independent from other nations wielding the oil card.

As Obama called it, “a Sputnik moment, but on the ground.”