The UK government will not set targets for the uptake of plug-in cars, it has revealed in its official response to a Transport Select Committee report.
Addressing criticism levelled at it by the Transport Committee’s recent ‘Plug-in vehicles, plugged in policy?’ report, the Departments for Transport, Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have responded that they don’t think setting targets for plug-in car uptake would be ‘helpful’ as there is little consensus about the likely rate of market penetration among analysts and the industry.
The Transport Committee’s report (more info here), released in September, expressed concern that the Government’s current strategies for promoting electric cars risk creating instability in the market through a lack of consistency between departments.
A decision to remove the tax breaks for corporations which buy electric vehicles from later this year and to withdraw the special BIK and NIC arrangements for EVs from 2015, without consultation, is given as an example of the inconsistent approach of Government.
A ‘matter for the Treasury’
In response, the departments said that the matter was an issue for the Treasury although there are on-going discussions within Government to ensure that the fiscal regime supports its ‘growth and environmental aspirations’.
The report also suggested that Plug-in Car Grants, worth up to £5,000 to buyers of electric cars, are only benefitting a handful of wealthy motorists.
An inconsistent and undocumented approach to building infrastructure too, is making it harder for motorists to adapt to running plug-in cars, the committee said. But with the launch of the Government’s The National Chargepoint Registry (NCR), which went live in April 2012, it is getting easier. At the time of drafting its response to the report, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) found that there were around 1,350 of publicly accessible chargepoints listed on the registry, which represents about 75 per cent of the total number of publicly accessible PIP funded posts.
As of the 31 September 2012, the country’s eight Plugged-In Places (PIPs) had installed over 2500 recharging points of which some 1,853 are publicly accessible.
In its response to the report, the Coalition Government asserts that it remains ‘committed’ to making the UK one of the premier markets for so-called ultra-low carbon electric vehicles (ULEVs), supporting it with grants for consumers until at least 2015 and by continuing to work with partners in the automotive industry to remove barriers to adoption.