Government under fire from the NAO as Which? reveals extra costs of electric cars
This month two reports – one from the National Audit Office and another from the consumer organisation Which? – put the government’s ” Green agenda” promise to cease internal combustion engine production in 2030 and end hybrid- electric/petrol and diesel production by 2035 to a savage test.
Read together they show the government’s programme is severely wanting and so far made little impact despite all the hype of adopting a Green agenda. The public have started buying electric cars in appreciable numbers – sales were up 162 per cent to 86,291 for the first 11 months of last year according to Which? But that is still a minute proportion of the 32.9 million cars registered in the UK. They amount according to the NAO to eight per cent of new car sales.
The NAO report produces some damning figures on the environmental impact of all this. The result has been pathetic – just a 1 per cent cut in carbon emissions in the ten years since subsidies for green cars were started. Carbon emissions actually rose between 2016 and 2019 as people went for more sporty vehicles and SUVs and road traffic increased. Hardly a good omen.
Massive divide between those with drives and those who are drive less
But there is also another story which suggests that the ” electric car ” will be the new divide between the rich, the middle class and the young and poor. To get best value from an electric car you need a home charger. If you have a big drive – no problem and you can even get a government greant of £350 to install one.
But one third of home owners and tenants live not in semi detached and detached homes but in terraced houses and flats. There is nowhere to install a charger on their property – they will have to rely on public charging in the street.
And the scheme to install public chargers in the streets has been a miserable failure. The NAO reveal that:
“By the end of March 2020, government funding had contributed towards the installation of 133,336 home charging points;8,578 workplace charging points; and 690 on-street charging points.”
This pathetic last figure for on street charging has partly been caused by the government itself – according to the NAO claiming the money from the ministry is so complicated that local councils have partly given up – the £8.5m budget for this has been underused by 32 per cent over the last three years.
Private companies have fared better according to the Which? report there were 20,823 publicly accessible charging points in 13,185 locations by mid December last year.
Damning findings from Which? on costs
There are some damning findings from Which? which heighten the divide even further. Yes you can save money on fuel bills by going electric but only if you have your own charger. “ If you don’t have regular access to private charging facilities it could cost you more to run overall than a full hybrid model or even a conventional petrol or diesel car.”
And worse if you have hybrid model Which? says don’t trust the fuel economy figures from the manufacturers.“Our own fuel economy tests show that real-world costs are on average an astronomical 252 per cent more expensive than manufacturer claims, across all the models we tested.”
And there is more for the poorer car owner with no access to their own charger.
” The cost of fully charging the average electric vehicle is 97 per cent more expensive than the average UK fixed-price home energy tariff, not including special rates or incentives aimed at electric car owners” And it is big money Which? estimates it would add £409 to annual fuel costs for a tiny city car such as the Seat Mii electric or around £653 for a full sized SUV such as the Mercedes EQC.
All this suggests that the government is going to need a big rethink to get to its target as both the NAO and the Commons Public Accounts Committee chair agree.
Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts says:
“Government has made some headway in promoting electric cars. But they are still not an affordable or practical option for most people.
“The vast majority of charging points are for private off-street parking. Not everyone has a driveway to charge their car. And reducing emissions shouldn’t be a luxury reserved for the middle classes.
“This can’t be a pie in the sky ambition – government must urgently develop a real plan if it wants electric cars to comprise 100% of new sales by 2035.”
I agree – otherwise it will just be another example of government hype.
About time that normal car drivers and us that have no other to carry on in cars that have normal means .
These loonies that are millionaires or just plain joes like me .I’m retired on 76 per month now its down to the car a Mercedes that he loved until he died .And scroungers like this parliament etc that look at things like this and compared to normal people like me will now seriously have to stop driving .They really make me sick you just don’t live in real world .time you realised like us that we have worked hard for a bit of life but you fools just do not care they just live in lala land .
I thought over a few months WHAT USED TO LIVE IN THE BEST LANDS ANYWAY COULD LOVE .BUT NOW ITS A ARSHOLE OF COUNTRY NO DECENCY FULL OF ARROGANT FOOLS .(Im ok Jack )This isn’t even working and only cars like Rishi theiver is one that’s been given out of our taxes are just thieves of us that have worked all our working life from us idiots that mostly cannot and follow the arrogant idiotic fools
Couldn’t help think of Prince Charles not only making 200 mile round trip in Lockdown but being lucky enough to own a Tesla car in which to travel. Being a known gas-guzzling performance car driver, he is fortunate enough to have the wealth to buy electric. How lucky for some to be able to do 2 things without a fine & in a luxury car mere mortals can dream on. Electric car ownership is an economic class divider and represents the beginning of the end to universal ownership/mobility……very worrying.
You can guarantee that every ‘good’ idea this Government comes up with is either to going to be too costly for the ordinary mortals of this country to pay or is only adopted to tick a ‘green’ box. Even the thought of driving around in a new electric car is a pipe dream to those, like me, who are driving around in a 13yr petrol car with our fingers crossed that nothing goes seriously wrong with it .I don’t pretend to know that much about the ins and outs of electric powered cars, but this I do know. My previous employer appeared at work one day in a brand new shiny black Tesla, two days later some guys from Tesla installed a power point at work to charge the car up. When the boss went on holiday, they went in the wife’s BMW M5!! He probably figured the holiday would be over before he found enough charging points to get him to the port to catch the ferry. What a joke. £70k+ for not much better than a flash looking ornament parked outside the business. This electric car malarkey is and always will be, only as good as the infrastructure that is in place to support the use of them.
Are they going us a car .I’ve got my dads merc do they think I’m going to throw and buy another when its hardly been driven .and his last thing he gave me. Ok for those idiots how could we get around because what their doing is stop people with not a lot. .Liars and ok for them
Wonder what mps cars are all bought on our money .these electric cars are neither than ugly rubbish not holding looking at the ugly slow not what having things are an embarrassment totally .too ugly too fiddly no use
There cars are paid by parliment they can have them useles slow ugly and a bag of shi.