Those vehicle manufacturers who have invested billions into the development of electric cars and vans have been given a boost after the government extended its plug in grant scheme. Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has underlined the need for continuing incentives as plug in hybrids and electric cars accounted for only 0.054% of cars sold in 2011, the equivalent of 1 in 1845 cars sold.
Norman Baker, the transport minister, announced that the the plug in car grant would continue, This offers 25%, up to a maximum of £5000, off the price of those cars that are eligible by having CO2 emissions of 78g/km or less. In a move that is intended to help to boost the sales of electric vans, a plug in van grant will be launched offering 20% off the price of eligible vans, up to maximum saving of £8000.
During 2011, 1052 vehicles were registered that were eligible for the plug in car grant and 892 application were made. The time lapse between registration and grant applications is down to the manufacturers applying for the grants after the cars have been purchased.
In total, only £5.26m has been paid out from the £300m that is sitting in the plug in car grant coffers. This helps to explain its commitment carrying on until 2015 and the ability to access the cash via the new plug in van grant. It also recognises, however, the value of the UK’s motor manufacturing industry.
For example, Nissan has invested £420m in it’s Leaf model and the development of its battery. It’s main plant in Sunderland is geared up to produce 50,000 Leaf’s from 2013m and it will start the production of its battery within the next few months. In the UK, Nissan sold 635 leafs during 2011, which equates to a 60% share of the ultra low emission vehicle market, but it isn’t sharing its sales prediction for this year or next.