Electric Car Subsidies

A news item released today states that UK car buyers will be eligible for a £5k subsidy from 2011 if they buy a car which is mainly electrically powered. Although there are few qualifying marques on the market, it is hoped that this will give a fillip to the car industry to go green with new models.
While I welcome anything that reduces our dependence on oil and the burning of fossil fuels, this initiative is only going to make a small impact. The fund available is only £250m which will mean that only 5,000 cars will qualify. Car manufacturers will expect to sell very many more than this of any model that they have to modify or to design from scratch. It will therefore really only be useful for car manufacturers who have a model ready for the market, or very nearly so. Possibly as significant in the long run is a £20m fund to provide the charging infrastructure for such cars.
It is interesting to consider what changes that the requirements of electric charging may bring to the driving experience. The current method of driving to a pump and filling up is unlikely to apply, as battery charging requires significantly more time. The winners in this are likely to be the service stops on motorways who already provide food, play and other facilities to motorists. By adding electric charging facilities they will be able to capitalise on the captive nature of this new market.

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