Electric car sales in the UK have more than halved this year. Figures obtained by CleanGreenCars show just 156 were sold from January to October 2008, compared to 374 for the same period in 2007.
News of the 58% drop comes as one of London’s two electric car distributors, Nice Car Company, was plunged into administration. Set up in 2006, the company had been selling an all-electric version of the French-made Aixam Mega. It had also planned to bring a range of new models, including a two-seater and MPV, to market by the end of the year. However, sales dropped to fewer than one car a week.
Perhaps the market for quirky electric vehicles like the Mega City and G-Wiz have had their day. Buyers could be holding off for cars from mainstream manufacturers, although they may still have years to wait before mass production is a reality.—Richard Bremner, editor www.cleangreencars.co.uk
There are around 1,100 all-electric cars currently on UK roads. The vast majority are owned by Londoners and are quadricycles rather than fully type-approved cars. Congestion-charge concessions for all-electric vehicles helped create the market, however customers have since turned away. Possible contributing factors include:
Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone’s proposals to exempt sub-120 g/km CO2 gasoline and diesel cars from the congestion charge. The proposals were subsequently scrapped by new mayor Boris Johnson, but many had turned away from all-electric motoring in the interim.
In June, the City of London reversed its decision to exempt electric cars from parking charges.
Cars such as the G-Wiz and Mega City have also faced criticism on safety.