American automobile enthusiasts may remain unconvinced, but it looks as though the electric car has found a slightly more receptive audience on the other side of the Atlantic, with one expert estimating sales of electric vehicles to double in 2013.
Ben Lane, the managing editor of website nextgreencar.com, states that the combination of an increase of charging points and a decrease in cost is likely to push ownership of electric cars in the United Kingdom up 100 percent over the next year. “The pricing is not yet quite right and the range is still not long enough,” he admitted to the Guardian newspaper, but nonetheless he is confident that sales will double in the next twelve months. “Very few people in 2012 were willing to pay a significant sum more for a car that still cannot do everything,” he said, but as the technology improves and becomes less expensive, he’s confident that will change.
Something that will help those who are concerned over the high cost of electric vehicles in the U.K. are subsidies offered by the government in order to motivate purchases. With £5,000 ($8121.50 US) available in subsidy money for each vehicle purchased, Lane argues, the cost of a car on a monthly basis is already surprisingly low. “Companies will not advertise low prices, but it could be possible to get an electric car for as little as £150 per month ($244 US) on a long-term lease,” he suggests, adding that retailers and dealers “will be keen to get older cars off their hands as new ones arrive on the market, so it will be possible to drive a hard bargain.”
Those subsidies are part of a £400 million plan on behalf of the British government to convince people of the benefits of low-emission vehicles. The U.K. Department for Transport issued a statement calling electric vehicles “the arrowhead for a low-carbon revolution in motoring,” going on to say that the government was “determined to make sure that infrastructure is in place to encourage more and more people to make this switch.”
Also part of the plan to encourage use of electric cars is the addition of new charging stations. In the nation’s capital alone, the number of charging points is set to increase from 900 to 1,300 in 2013, according to Transport for London. The DFT reported that it was “extremely encouraged by the emergence of the private sector in rolling out infrastructure and estimate that around 5,000 charging points have been installed nationwide by such organizations.”
Proponents of electric cars may want to rein in their excitement just a little, however; even if sales of electric cars do double in the U.K. in 2013, that will only translate into 6,000 sales in the country overall. The revolution remains just a little far off, sadly.