Thursday, September 20, 2012

Electric Car Update

I really hate to say "I told you so". And I really hate to say I told you "I hate to say I told you so".

In 2011, in a post that started with the words I hate to say "I told you so"I wrote:

if the average EV buyer is a typical 2-car household, the good old taxpayer giving massive subsidies to help some of the wealthiest, most car-dependent and most polluting households continue pretty much as they are but feel less guilty about it. Is this really the Government's idea of progress in reducing our national carbon footprint? Oh - and I nearly forgot - an EV is just as bad for congestion as a fossil-fuelled car.

And guess what, the Transport Select Committee has spotted that my prediction has come to pass:

So far, Department for Transport expenditure on plug-in cars - some £11m - has benefited just a handful of motorists.
"We were warned of the risk that the government is subsidising second cars for affluent households; currently plug-in cars are mostly being purchased as second cars for town driving."
"Far more work is required to ensure that this programme is a good use of public funds."

Far more work? The thing is broken. People are using the electric car to pick up the sun-dried tomato hummus from Waitrose, then getting in their Range Rovers and driving to their second homes in the country.

Here's an idea the Transport Select Committee and the Government might want to get a hold of. Instead of this socialism for the rich, spend the money on decent Continental-style cycling infrastructure instead. That has a proven, positive rate of return in terms of health benefits, reducing transport costs/subsidies, congestion, and environmental damage. It benefits people from right across the social spectrum, and will reduce CO2 emissions far more per unit of investment than the electric car scheme ever will. It'll also generate British jobs.


  1. Presumably plug-ins pay no VED? On the basis that they have no CO2 emissions "at the tailpipe".

    Possibly they have lower overall emissions than most conventional cars, but the real gainer is the wealthy resident of Westminster or RBKC. It's the not-so wealthy soot-covered neighbour of Drax B, or gently glowing in the dark neighbour of Sizewell B, who catches that.

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