back to article Govt powers up electric cars with £5k subsidy

Anyone looking to buy an electric car in the UK could soon be eligible for a £5000 ($7500/€5600) rebate, thanks to a new government eco motoring incentive. Ampera Cars like Vauxhall's Ampera (above) could become £5K cheaper come 2011 The subsidy, grant, rebate or whatever you care to call it will be available from 2011 and …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    That'll be giving money to rich bastards again then won't it?

    The thought of my hard earned money being stolen by the government to be given to rich car buying bastards sickens me. Tax is for hospitals schools and supporting those that need it, not for siphoning off into the pockets of people who donate money to political parties.

    The level of government theft and corruption in this country is astounding.

  2. EvilGav

    Well, that'll work . . .

    . . . or more likely it'll go like the Australian renewable energy grant, whereby all the manufacturers simply increase their prices, safe in the knowledge that the grant reduces the price back to what they actually intended in the first place.

    Besides, if all these hybrids and 'leccy cars are so good and such a good thing, then why the need for a subsidy ? Could it be because they are shit, no-one really wants them and they are impractical.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    How to lie with statistics

    "Something like 35 per cent of all our carbon emissions are caused by domestic transport", he said. "Of that, 58 per cent of the emissions are caused by motor cars”

    Why didn't he just say "20 per cent of all our carbon emissions are caused by cars"? 20% is still a big figure, but spinning it into categories to make the numbers larger is just sleazy.

    How about tackling the largest chunk of the remaining 80%? ...or would that upset companies with large amounts of cash and influence?

  4. Ian Stephenson


    Anyone want to bet that the price wont suddenly rise by £5,000?

    No ?

    What a bunch of cynics you lot are....

  5. Arnold Lieberman
    Thumb Down

    How is this electrickery going to be powered?

    We're not exactly overburdoned with surplus electricity production at the moment. Not by coal or gas (displacing the CO2 production would just be a load of greenwashing hypocracy). Not by nuclear (causes too much ecomentalist confusion and will take a good 20 years to get on line). So that leaves wind/wave. The roads are going to pretty quiet on overcast still days.

  6. Chris Harrison
    Thumb Down

    Joined up thinking - again

    I assume that no car manufactuer is planning to sell a single hybrid car in the UK next year?

    This is exactly the same as what happened when they mentioned they 'may' stop collecting stamp duty and then didn't - it caused the housing market to stall completely while everyone waited.

    Is anyone going to risk buying one if they could wait and get a discount of 5K?

  7. Hector K Spankthrust III
    Thumb Down


    So..... 35% comes from transport, 58% of that comes from cars, so overall 20% comes from cars - taking into account that most of the energy to charge the batteries comes from coal and the actual number of electric cars will be relatively small for years in proportion to the total number of cars on the road what appreciable difference will this have to manmade CO2 emissions? Genius waste of money.......

  8. MJI Silver badge

    Some points

    Firstly I cannot afford a Tesla, or a Jaguar XJ-E, and which electric car could tow my caravan 200 miles on one charge - and keep the fridge cool.

    Secondly where is all the power coming from?

    Thirdly - why are most electric cars horrible?

  9. Andrew Kelly

    carbon emissions

    Out of interest, how much carbon will be produced in burning fossil fuels to produce the electricity that these cars will run on?

  10. Steven
    Thumb Down

    Poluting electric cars

    If these magical zero emission electric cars get their power from mr smog belching coal powerstation, I fail to see how that helps reduce emissions...

  11. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    That'll stop 'em buying.

    Who is going to buy a leccy car now, knowing that they can get £5k off from 2011 and knowing the 'rebate' will clobber the resale value too?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should have been invested in hydrogen research.

    Investing in research doesn't allow for flag waving though I guess.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nuclear power

    Are all these new electric cars why the government needs another nuclear power station, after all burning coal to recharge your electric car is hardly co2 friendly.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Rob


    Is this not an excuse for the manufacturers just to add about 4-5k on to their prices, that way they get even more money out of us, we buy the car and hand over our tax money at the same time.

    The theme for this recession is hand outs to all and any who want them, those who work for a living and pay tax are exempt though.

  16. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    With an energy budget like this, it is a good thing he's not Chancelor of the Exchequer

    A G-Wiz is currently about £7K. I am sure that next year it will be £12K.

    I do not see 3500 gigantic windmills under construction, so Gordon ¿must? have come up with some other power source for all these electric vehicles. A sterling engine can convert hot air into electricity, but even Nu-labour will struggle to meet demand.

  17. pixel


    That's not going to go very far against the cost of a Tesla.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Carbon Emissions?

    Why do we get fixated on the carbon emissions of running a car?

    I have a perfectly good car, does 31mpg on the sort of runs it does.

    What is the C footprint of scrapping this car? What is the environmental footprint of recycling the metal, recycling the plastics, the oil etc.

    What is the C footprint of manufacturing a new electric/hybrid/traditonal car? What is the environmental footprint of melting and rolling the steel, the manufacture and moulding of the plastics? What about the batteries? What about the environmental impact of replacing those batteries?

    All of this is of course moot because I don't have the money to buy a replacement beat up old wreck never mind some stupidly priced new car with, or without, subsidies.

    This, like the other "scrap your current car and buy a new one" deal designed to boost the car industry just shows how out of touch with society Gordon, and the rest of the parasitic scum in Westminster are.

  19. Martin Lyne


    As someone looking to have an electric car as a first car, I approve of this. Assuming the manufacturers don't just up prices by the same.

    Making things cheaper makes the transition easier, EvilGav. New technologies will always have room to get better. "Shit and impractical" would be your, probably third-hand, opinion.

    Unless, of course, you own an Tesla Roadster already?

    (I'm excluding piss-weak quad-bike "cars", they just seem like a death trap)

  20. Andrew Bush

    * price after govt EV subsidy

    These cars should only qualify for the subsidy if it results in the vehicle being equal or lower in price than the equivalent petrol/diesel powered model from the same manufacturer.

    As previously stated, without regulation manufacturers will just 'top-up' their pricing with whatever the car qualifies for from the scheme. EVs currently seem to be priced like low volume cars, so they are far more expensive than their mass-produced counterparts. The manufacturers have to bite the bullet and accept that the R&D they are doing now can be amortized over the range of EVs they produce over the next decade or more instead of trying to recoup it on a single model.

    Has anyone done a tear-down and BOM for any of these cars based on costings for common car industry parts, plus whatever the items unique to EV (at reasonable prices, not NASA rates)?

  21. Sean Aaron

    Um, what about infrastructure?

    I'd be interested and I'll be needing a new car in a few years' time potentially, but as I live in a flat where am I supposed to charge the thing?

  22. Geoff Mackenzie

    Based on CO2 emissions, eh?

    I take it this will apply to small petrol engines too then. Looking forward to my 5K, I'm sure my 12 year old 250cc Honda is cleaner than a Prius (say) by any sensible measure. I'm sure I could strap a large, pointless battery to it if I need one to qualify.

  23. Terry Ellis

    All very well

    But where's the solid investment in the renewable energy required to support the carbon reducing sentiments of Mr Hoon. Without renewables you are simply moving the point of carbon emissions from the street to the power plant (although you do remove the noxious gases and particles petrol cars produce).

    Or indeed where is the investment in the energy sector in general; there are already concerns about an 'energy gap' which this would only fuel.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    So we have an impeding electrical power problem due to the slow commisioning of new power stations and planned decomissioning of existing ones and yet the government think that it is a good idea to encourage a significant increase in electricity use?

  25. John Wise
    Thumb Down

    Battery powered red herring

    What about the people who park their cars on the street? It’s all good and well being told you can charge your car up over night to get round the several hours full charge cycle, but the Beeb made me laugh this morning when they reported this.

    They showed someone plugging their car in on the street to, what I can only describe as a “charging bollard”. Great, apart from the fact that they were literally “plugging it in”, both ends. 3 pin to the bollard, the other to the charge port on the car.

    Now, call me a realist, but I just see that as a prime target for “drunken shenanigans” and ne’er-do-wells to steal your charging cable. You can just see it now. “Ha! Imagine the look on that tw@’s face when his car’s flat in the morning.”

    And you can bet your bottom dollar, like mobiles phone chargers, all car manufacturers will make the charging ports on their models non standard so you have to buy a specific charging lead from them. And what price will they be? Will you be happy having to buy a new charging cable once (or more) a week when it’s been robbed?

    Plus, where is all this extra juice going to come from? Aren’t we already facing an energy crisis in terms of not having enough in the national grid to power everything now? If nuclear (and I’m not saying I’m pro or anti-nuclear) doesn’t get the go ahead, just how do they plan to create all the green leccy required to power these enviro-boxes?

    Bandwagons and jumping spring to mind.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    so when the old plants go offline you wont even be able to drive anywhere coz there aint the power to juice your motor.

    If we had all nuclear stations electric cars would be awsome, still environmentally devistating, those batteries arn't nice things. But you'd probably hack 70% or more of our national human carbon production.

    The impending power emergancy needs to be dealt with, but naaawww fuck it lets build a wind mill and flog a shit leccy car, that'll make the wankers feel better about themselves.

    It's like "Hey guys that building's on fire!"

    "Man it is, best put this candle out in case I start another fire"

    "Wait, what?"

  27. Robert Grant


    "How about tackling the largest chunk of the remaining 80%? ...or would that upset companies with large amounts of cash and influence?"

    Or it might just not be possible with current tech, and they're cutting what they can where they can /now/.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Cant find a space to park it...

    Never mind somewhere to charge it.

    Electric vehicles will not catch on until I can find somewhere to charge the damn thing.

    "Build it, and they will come"

    Could give me a lecy car for free, but I'll still only get as far as the first charge lets me.

    Subsidise a network of charging points... Then I'll maybe even buy one at full price.

    Tax money going to the wrong place....again.

  29. Martin


    I don't get this electric car business at all.

    yay, cars run on electricity, but wait, where does the electricity come from? Power stations! So we come around full circle, back to the original problem of, whats going to run out soon? Coal!!

    Why don't they pour some money into something more worth while (instead of lining the pockets of the rich) like hydrogen production, that was all the rage a few years ago

  30. David Nicholson
    Thumb Up

    An easy solution

    To all those people who are commenting that they won't be able to charge an electric car without building more coal-fired power stations etc.

    Just by a petrol-powered generator and plug your car in to that. There's loads of petrol stations all over the place, so charging isn't a problem. You could even keep the generator in the boot!

    Problem Solved.

  31. Peter Johnston

    Killing the environment

    Electricity is not a power source - only a means of transporting it. Losses mean 4 times as much energy has to be used as reaches the socket so it is highly environmentally unfriendly, especially as most of our electricity is from fossil fuels.

    80% of the environmental damage done in a car's life is in making it, not using it. Batteries don't last as long as cars currently do (16 years av) and paying £3k for new ones in a car which by then is worth under £1k is economic nonsense so cars will be scrapped earlier, increasing the environmental damage.

    Batteries are extremely nasty to the environment with the heavy metals being horrendously damaging to extract and they are not recyclable. They also put us in the hands of unstable regimes with 90% of the world's lithium coming from Bolivia, for example. The additional weight and the acids in wet batteries makes them dangerous in accidents too.

    Oh Gordon - why don't you read the research?

  32. Simon B

    just moving the carbon source

    "Something like 35 per cent of all our carbon emissions are caused by domestic transport", he said. "Of that, 58 per cent of the emissions are caused by motor cars”.

    And all they are doing is changing it to:

    "Something like 35 per cent of all our carbon emissions are caused by domestic transport being charged up", he said. "Of that, 58 per cent of the emissions are caused by powerstations supplying power to home owners charging their motor cars”. ®

  33. Michael


    In more rural parts, more traditional transport will be used .. horse and cart , and oxen.

    A wall of cowpats will keep 'em townies out ........arrrrr!

  34. Anonymous John
    Thumb Up


    G Wiz £7000 - £5000 (Subsidy) - £2000 (Scrappage) = 0.

    Will you be able to scrap two cars and get a free car plus £2000?

  35. Andrew Barratt

    No sudden recovery for the car industry then

    So if the rest of the economy starts to pick up, the "poor" car industry will have to wait until 2011. As there is no way people will rush to buy a car if there is the possibility of getting a 5k discount on one.

    Govement Economic Strategy -10

  36. Rasczak
    Thumb Up

    @ David Nicholson

    I'd been thinking along similar lines.

    Electric motor more efficient for drivetrain - problem with charging batteries -short range.

    Hydrogen to generate electricity - more range - same lack of infrastructure to keep hydrogen tanks topped up.

    Use small petrol engine to generate electricity - use electricity to power motors (maybe through some sort of battery storage system) - infrastructure there to top up with petrol. Would this then use less petrol to go the same given distance ? I would have thought so as petrol engine would surely run at constant revs regardless of speed and so could be set as efficiently as possible to keep battery topped up enough to give smooth running.

    Isn't this much how Diesel trains work, Diesel engine generating electricy for the motors driving the wheels ?

  37. WXJLTonight

    A load of old flannel

    I've just checked out the Government's own figures and delivering 1kWh via mains electricity to your socket in the wall produces 0.43 kg CO2. Generating an equivalent 1kWh using 'evil' petrol and an internal combustion engine only gives out 0.24 kg CO2.

    So let me get this right, the Government are going to subsidise the buying of cars which, whilst having an equivalent power output, churn out nearly twice as much CO2? Surely they should be giving me £5K to buy a lovely new petrol car? Or is it only a bit of green flag waving to appease the environ-mentalists who aren't sharp enough to understand the science?

  38. Matt
    Thumb Down

    Just how do you...

    ...recycle an electric car battery???

  39. michael

    coal power stations

    PLSES do not flame me

    I would much prefer we used all nuclar or wind as well BUT

    coal/oil power stations are better that oil cars for several reasions

    1. power stations are more efectent that cars

    2. all the emitions are in one place and can be caputered easer

    3. it is easer to replace less than 100 power stations that are nonley controled by the gov than 1000 or indervidual cars

    4. the is more coal and power station oil than petrol (maby this point needs work)

  40. Douglas Brown
    Paris Hilton

    So then......

    Can I get £5k for walking to work then?

  41. Pete

    Pulled the plug on the 'lectric car....

    Seing as practically no one will buy one now

  42. Nigel Whitfield

    Don't hold your breath

    Maybe I'm just a cynic, but surely the chances of the government actually having to find the cash for this are fairly slim.

    2011 is beyond the next election, and there's a fair chance that the present party won't be in power, or at least not in a majority.

    It may encourage some people to start building charging networks in the meantime, which would be no bad thing. But I wouldn't bet on being able to get your £5,000 in two years time.

  43. Andrew Kelly

    @By michael Posted Thursday 16th April 2009 12:26 GMT

    Your comments might carry more weight if we could understand what you had written.

    BTW how do I transport my wife, 2 kids and luggage (including baby's pushchair) 150 miles to the Isle of Wight in an electric car?

    I can't see us all getting into a G-wiz, Smart Car or Mini.

  44. Adam

    @John Wise

    People unplugging your car in the street at night... also people could cheekily charge their cars on your driveway while everyone's at work!

    I suspect the answer is some sort of lock and a key - I certainly wouldn't want the charging points on my driveway just open to anyone, I guess others would be the same, so you'd have a key. I'll bet the same is true on the car - can't detach lead unless you have the car key.

    Still, it will be interesting to see how long the bollards stay in place when the compensation claims start rolling in from those who've tripped on cables all over the place...

    Hopefully, if released, the final version would have a spring-loaded cable reel that only has the car connector on it, tethered into the car until the car key is used to open the latch on the charging port.

  45. wolfmeister

    Yer avin a laaaaaaaaaaaaarf

    well so much for getting clean air by complicated methods. In London they could reduce emmissions overnight by just banning the hundreds of rancid 'London Tour Buses' which befoul the air and make massive noise polution while usualy carry about 10 passengers. These vehicles aren't part of the transport system and are soley a bunch of private companies persuing profit at the expense of Londoners air and noise quality.

    Secondly get the bloody river Thames working! with a river that size running right thru the city from east-to-west it should be full to the brim with river busses which could handle massive amounts of communter traffic while freeing up the roads - the infastructure is already there to suport it and it's a criminal waste not to use such a superb virtualy cost free & pollution cutting resource. And it'd make for rather pleasant peaceful journeys

    Politicians have no creativity at all

  46. michael

    @Andrew Kelly

    I never sugested you should get one of those over-large remote controlled cars I was just saying that coal/ecetric powered cars are not as bad as the rest of pepol here are making out

  47. Pete James

    As Nigel said

    If you think this has anything to do with the current Administration trying to help business, save the environment or be a benefit to the country you're completely deluded. This is a spiteful, vindictive announcement deliberately announced to begin after the next election. This Government doesn't give a toss about the people anymore; it knows the next election is as good as lost so it's planning ahead to the next one by creating the worst possible secnario for the next Administration, giving it a platform to make lots of noise about how good they really were and grabbing the mindset of the floating voters. You can expect plenty more of these announcements to appear in the coming months designed to have make no difference to our lives while Brown remains in power but cause plenty of misery when whoever is next in the hot seat has to try and sort out the oppressive debts the UK is accumulating.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    But according to the Governments own stats pulling power from the line is produces twice as much CO2 as producing power by burning petrol.

    How is it people think that power stations are more efficent then petrol in an engine?

    Coal burnt, heats water, makes steam, turn turbine, create energy, transformed, sent down wires, stored in a battery, converted to turn crank shaft, bit of other stuff, wheels go round, car goes

    Petrol enters small chamber, is compressed, makes explosion, pushes back down petrol enters again, this energy goes to turn crank shaft, bit of other stuff, wheels go round, car goes.

    Anyone rambling about how Getting power from a station is more efficent then burning petrol is snorting petrol fumes.

  49. Matt


    Will this scheme be as difficult to use as the cycle to work scheme? That scheme allows employees to buy a bicycle at about half price, after they've jumped through fifty hoops.

    This is clearly just giving money to the car companies. If they were serious about the environment, the money should go towards walking, cycling and public transport (in that order).

  50. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Think like a politican, and you can find solutions for everything ...

    @Andrew Kelly: You, your wife and both kids drive a G-Wiz each. Four cars will only cost £8K with subsidy, add a couple of portable generators and your are still price competitive with a new car big enough to carry the for of you and your luggage.

    @Adam: AFAIK, parking meters in Canada include a standard power socket so your engine does not freeze solid while you are at work. If the Canadian government can come up with one standard socket, I am sure our government can agree on at least two new standards. Twice as good! Decent home charge points have a power switch inside your house. If someone unplugs your car at night, the switch trips, so they cannot steal your power until they break in and flick the switch back. There you go: everyones' problems solved.

    Instead of hulking big batteries around, we could use small batteries to get people to and from main roads, and then over head power lines for the bulk of the journey. As we are leaping towards a Stasi state, a quick run through the national database would show who travelled where in what size car, so peoples' electricity bills could be calculated with equipment that is already budgeted and approved. It is a good thing our government have so much experience of massive IT projects! What could be more popular?

  51. Law
    Paris Hilton

    waiiiiiiiiiit a minute

    wasn't it only last month we were being told we have an energy shortage coming up with closing stations and no new ones opening to cover demand - and that we should all stop buying HD TV's, and buy fridges that don't turn on during peak hours....... and now they want me to plug my car into the mains every night?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    Paris - cos she'd be as confused as me!

  52. W

    Re: "Can I get £5k for walking to work then?"

    If I had my way, yes.

    The whole leccy car thing was ridiculous enough before we introduced this subsidy nonsense.

    Can I have, say, £2500 using the train or bus for all of my journeys instead of a car? Give or take a few quid, that'd probably roughly equate to free travel for me. Nice. Incidentaly free public transport was a policy of the Socialists at the last Scottish elections. So I guess there's no chance that the historically socialist Labour party could even consider it.

    Joking aside, that proves how outrageous the £5k handout is. It's almost as if Gordon Brown is trying to come up with a measure that will achieve exactly what he set out to do when he increased the lower rate of income tax for low earners. What chance a national outrage over this?

    Yet another chronic misdirection of public funds... But it won't get any better (in England) when the Tories get in (in England). Maybe when the Tories get in at the next general election, the Scottish purse and it's strings will be handed over (or wrenched back), and then the SNP can have a go at making a better job of things up here.


    [External Electricity Charging Points] + [Rain[ = [Fail] ...surely?

  53. O
    Thumb Down


    And why the hell didn't they do this 5 years ago, as everyone has been imploring them to do? And why have they decided that this will come into being in 2011?

    1) Because they're desperate to do the oil and car industry's bidding.

    2) They'll be out of office in 2011 and won't have to keep any promises they make now, thus delaying any potential introduction of subsidies even further.

    3) Brown's desperate for good PR, and is copying the 'Obama message' as much as he possibly can. Coincidence that it's $7500 in both countries.

  54. Thomas Chippendale

    If only there were any electric cars

    I hope it works to increase demand, so that there are some electric cars to buy. I'd really like to buy one. But after all these years, there still aren't any for sale. There are four-wheeled quad bikes with closed cabins which are inexplicably described as a 'car' in the press despite failing to be legally classified as such in the UK. But no real electric cars. It doesn't have to be anything huge. Even an electric Smart car would be alright. At least it's a car.

    Often I read reports that such a car would be no use since it would only travel fifty miles or so on a charge. But my journeys tend to be less than ten miles. So it doesn't matter much. Thirty miles or so would be range enough for me.

    Sometimes people remark upon the difficulties of charging them. But I could charge a car at the private car park both at home and at the office. Or even at the public charging posts near both my home and my office.

    I do not imagine the car manufacturers are stupid. The trouble is that someone like me - who makes short journeys, has another car already which would work for longer journeys or holidays outside the city, is prepared to pay the cost of an electric car at more than the sub-10k cost of quad bikes like the G-whiz, and parks in a staffed and secure space at home and at work where power could easily be made available - is just not usual enough for the concept to be profitable.

    So it would be nice for me if the £5k changed the balance enough to make the manufacture of electric cars viable.

    Not that I think it is a good reason to tax people, mind you...

  55. WonkoTheSane Silver badge

    @David Nicholson

    "Just by a petrol-powered generator and plug your car in to that. There's loads of petrol stations all over the place, so charging isn't a problem. You could even keep the generator in the boot!"

    This is exactly how the Chevy Volt / Vauxhall Ampera will work.

    40 miles worth of battery charge & a 1litre petrol generator on board.

    Still waiting for the "Tesla F" - fuel cell version of the roadster that they haven't thought of yet!

  56. John Smith Gold badge

    Party leaving etiquette quiz. Do you

    A. Thank your host for the pleasant evening you have had, congratulate them on the selection of some of their other guests and and offer to help with the clean up.

    B. Scoff remaining nibbles, sticking any full bottles in your side pockets. Grope your host or their SO before spewing up on the living room carpet. Retreat out the door with the words "So long suckers. I'll be back when you've had a chance to re-stock your booze."Not forgetting to empty your bladder in the front garden on the way out.

    On a serious note. Even Robert Mugabe managed to organise an election by now. With the odds on bet being Labour loose the eventual election this is laying the ground work for a whine along the lines of "*We* would have done this but the tories care nothing for the environment etc etc." If they *want* to do something for the environment offer the money to people to crush any car over (5?, 10?) years old. The *average* level of vehicle emissions should go down, money goes into the economy and people buy cars (actual real goods) , some of them new. A *relatively* modern car should hammer old bangers

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    1 - can I have a trial of a leccie powered wheelchair accessible vehicle (thought not)

    2 - perhaps the banks & finance sector can jump in at at least match the government cash back (thought not)

    3 - maybe retailers/sellers will resist every temptation to put the selling price up by the same amount (thought not?)

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I can see it now

    Someone please call me cynical, but does this mean that from 2011 our pavements will get even more cram packed full of mobility scooters when the OAP's realise they can increase their pension pot by tear-arsing round the city centres in their new fangled contraptions that government are going to give them £5,000 to ride?

    And where can I buy a cheap milk float to grab my share of this free money? Ernie would be so proud.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where is the power comming from ?

    'Green' cars are touted as those that produce less CO2, what no one ever mentions is where the power to re-charge the cars comes from, if you plug it into the mains theres the extra power requirements at the power station, which means more coal, oil, pollution to cope with demand.

    what is the real 'green' cost of producing a new car compared with running an older car, albeit with higher CO2 emissions, I bet over the life of the car its still more effective to run the older car. Prehaps we should be looking at way to keep older cars on the road and cut down the emissions and draw in natural resources to produce new cars.

  60. Tony Hoyle

    No infrastructure

    ..and no announcement of money to buy that infrastructure.

    To put charging points on the street you'd realistically have to rip up every residental street in the UK, put mains power down it, bollards, etc. That's an undertaking that'll cost millions if not billions.

    Driveways? A lot (most? certainly around here) have no access to such a thing. Power cables out of the window? I can see that working... Not to mention risk of electrocution as some mumpty tries to charge their car in the rain with a wet cable...

    Plus as pointed out elsewhere, you're not saving CO2 emissions, you're pushing it elswhere and introducing inefficiency into the system as well - power lines have resistance and lose energy, so you've got to generate more power than you need to compensate.

    Research into Hydrogen or some other transportable power source would make sense.. but this simply doesn't - it's a cash handout to the car manufacturers (who will instantly put up their prices by £5000) and a lame attempt to look green. It's a lot cheaper to convert a petrol station into a hydrogen station or an unobtanium station than to try to blanket the country in power sockets.

  61. John Smith Gold badge

    infrastructure, not subsidy

    People don't buy e-cars because they cannot afford them. They don't buy them because few are crash tested (except the g-whizz and the electric Smart), or look awful or have limited range. Or all three at once.

    If the government is serious it needs to improve the infrastructure. If you can drive to a train station or a works car park and leave it for the day, as a *lot* of people do, that gets the demand in one place. Would beefing up the supply to individual railway stations (on an electric track of course) be that difficult? Would it not be a good incentive to electrify more lines? Would it pump fund directly into British industry. These are things that Government is for.

    Now that sounds more like helping Business, Enterprise and the Environment.

    Otherwise this is more Greenwash.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missing that...

    It still applies to hybrids, or at least most of you are. Yes hybrids still use petrol, but only in limited bursts. The electric motors are more power efficient than directly powering the wheels by the petrol engine I understand, as well as the fact that they don't use anything at all while they are stopped when you're snarled up in a traffic jam or waiting at lights. I imagine hybrids would be far more useful as part of this than pure electric cars.

    Then again the people who think Labour are trying to crap on the next government have a point too.

  63. John Smith Gold badge

    Some hybrids can plug into the mains

    Toyota are now officially trialling a Prius which can plug into the mains.

    Which is interesting given that they were not happy when US techies modified ones to have a plug. I guess Toyota felt that having 2 potential openings to fill up was just too confusing for the average septic.

    It seems the viability of a hybrid depends on how much the battery does actual work and how much it's there to beat regulation. I note the average speed in London is now listed as somewhere in the 4-8mph range (google search) . The Prius engine does not cut in below 15mph.

  64. John Smith Gold badge

    Budget latest. Car scrapping @ 2k for > 10 yr old cars

    But only for brand new cars. Which will give you a deposit. Whereas £2k should get you most if not all of a reasonable "pre-owned" vehicle.

    And not until 2010.

    Still better than nothing. But will it save them?

  65. John Smith Gold badge


    That should have read Until March 2010.

    Or Labour loose their next election.

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