Transport Select Committee publishes report recommending ways to boost uptake and reduce emissions, writes Caelia Quinault
Consumer demand for plug-in vehicles remains very low and the government grant to encourage uptake may not be proving effective, according to a group of MPs.
The Transport Select Committee – which scrutinises government transport policy –published a new report yesterday (September 20) on the government’s plug-in strategy which recommends key ways in which it believes policy could be improved.
Plug-in vehicles are seen as an important tool for improving air quality as they are powered by electricity rather than fuels such as diesel, which gives off emissions which have been linked to cancer.
The term ‘plug-in vehicle’ is used in the report to describe a wide variety of different technologies including battery electric vehicles (BEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and extended-range electric vehicles (E-REV).
The government’s plug-in-car grant allows motorists purchasing a qualifying ‘ultra-low emission’ car to receive a grant of 25% towards the cost of the vehicle, up to a maximum of £5,000.
Launching the report, committee chair Louise Ellman MP warned that it was important to get the strategy for plug in vehicles right in order to reduce transport emissions.
She said: “The Government must do more to show that its plug-in vehicle strategy is a good use of public money. Carbon emissions from transport must be reduced if the UK is to meet its climate change targets, but public money must be targeted on effective policies.
“So far, Department for Transport expenditure on plug-in cars – some £11 million – 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.
Ms Ellman said it was also unclear whether the provision of public charging infrastructure encourages demand for plug-in cars and criticised the government for not having a register of all the chargepoints installed “at public expenseâ€?.
She said: “Ministers should not sit back and hope that the Government’s policy on plug-in cars will reduce transport carbon emissions. Far more work is required to ensure that this programme is a good use of public funds.”
The Committee’s full list of recommendations are:
Plug-in vehicle report