SIR – Could anyone explain to me why, when electric cars are only affordable by those of substantial means, do these vehicles attract a government grant towards purchase, nil road tax and, it would appear, free electricity provided at charge points that we ordinary mortals are paying for in our already over-inflated council tax?

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Does anyone really believe that when the number of electric vehicles on the road reaches a more substantial figure and petrol/diesel vehicles, which contribute billions of pounds to the exchequer, decline rapidly, that the government will not suddenly impose an annual tax on these vehicles and the electricity they use?

And I dread to think what the ‘environmental’ charge will be when the electric car batteries have to be replaced (every five years) and the old ones disposed of.

Ms J Houston, Highcliffe

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Oh dear ! Yet another uninformed, research-averse, anti-EV reactionary fails to join the obvious “Big Picture” dots – as in geopolitical, environmental, financial – both short-term and long-term.
    PS. most of the latest EV battery packs are good for well over 200,000 miles – that’s “5 years” driving is it ?! Oh – and Tesla’s Musk is promising a million+ miles soon.
    Paul G(EVUK)

  2. In response to the original writer’s question, can I start by correcting some basic assumptions? First of all, you don’t have to be rich to drive an electric car these days. The cost has come down substantially and you can get a used electric vehicle from £6000 upwards. New electric cars like the 40 kWh Nissan Leaf can be leased on a PCH deal for about £300/month for 3 years. Still not cheap but already within the reach of many “ordinary mortals” and becoming more affordable all the time. Depending on how much you drive, you can save a lot of money on fuel and servicing.

    Another false assumption is that free electricity is being dispensed to electric car drivers at council tax payers expense. For one thing, free electricity was fairly common in the early days of electric vehicles, say 2010-16, but is now becoming relatively rare except at so-called destination chargers at venues like supermarkets or restaurants where they may still give away free electricity, but that will be paid for by the venue owner or charging network, not the local council. Most electric car drivers pay for most of the electricity they use these days. But it is still cheaper to use electricity than petrol or diesel.

    So now your question becomes this : “ Could anyone explain to me why, when electric cars are only affordable by those of average means (or above), do these vehicles attract a government grant towards purchase and nil road tax?” The reason for the grant for new electric car purchases is to incentivise car buyers to buy an electric car instead of an environmentally damaging petrol or diesel car that may be cheaper initially. This not only benefits the first owner, but everyone else benefits immediately from reduced pollution and later on that car will go onto the secondhand market where it will be an affordable car for someone who could not otherwise buy an electric car. Since the road tax system is based on the amount of pollution from the car exhaust, it makes sense for electric vehicles that have zero tailpipe emissions to be zero rated.

    The electric car grant will go away at some point before too long, as electric cars are getting closer to being the same price as equivalent petrol or diesel cars. Some people think that could be in the next few years.

    When there are a large number of electric cars on the road, of course taxation will change, but there are difficulties with putting taxes on electricity. A much more likely prospect is a road pricing scheme for everyone to replace fuel duty and road tax. But that’s a fair way off – 10 years or more, I would think.

    As has been pointed out, electric car batteries do not need replacing after 5 years. Recent research and real world data suggests that batteries will last about 10-12 years in a car and then they can be used as stationary power storage for another 10+ years before getting recycled. So the likelihood is that when your battery is no longer suitable for road use after 10 years, you will be able to sell it for a substantial sum.

    Electric cars are not some kind of subsidised perk for the well off. They are already more affordable than most people think. At the end of the day, anything that encourages people to drive cars that don’t emit harmful gases has to be good for everyone.

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