The Guardian reports that electric cars are not selling well in the UK.
The CSO does not report sales of electric cars, but it does report “other fuel types” which, by elimination, must mean electric. In 2008, 6 such cars were registered, or 0.004% of all new cars. This rose to 9 (0.017%) in 2009, 23 (0.027%) in 2010 and 45 (0.054%) in the first nine months of 2011.
Hybrids are doing better: 2,600 were sold in 2008-2011, or 0.7%.
The government still aims for one in ten all-electric by 2020 (on the road, not new sales; see Hennessy and Tol (2011, Fig 10) for an estimate of the impact on carbon dioxide emissions). That is roughly 230,000 cars. We’ve bought the first 83. Only 229,917 to go. (The target for 2012 is a more modest 6,000.) .
The ESB has put up a good few charging points. Initially, power was given away for free, but I can’t find evidence that that is still the case. There is a purchase subsidy of 5,000 euro per car, and a zero VRT. The motor tax is 146 euro per year.
Car buyers are apparently not impressed by the subsidies and tax breaks on offer, and the exchequer is not losing any money on this scheme. However, the investment by the ESB is pointless. Instead, they could have paid the money as a dividend to the government.