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Electric Car Sales in UK Drop 58% Jan-Oct

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

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.


Henry Gibson

PHEVS not BEVS. There ought to be significant advantages for those who buy the overly expensive means of transport, including parking. ..HG..

Electric Vehicle Blog

I agree that a big reason why electric vehicles have not yet been more widely adopted is because of their safety issues, as well as their looks. When manufacturers start building electric vehicles that look like and have the safety features of regular cars, people will begin adopting them more widely.


The things on sale today in London are either quadricycles or very expensive. They are generally made by small companies who haven't got the resources to do the job properly.
The lack of power for the batteries means the "cars" have to be very light and small - the lack of resources means they look awful and cannot be engineered to proper safety standards.

We will have to wait till "real" car companies start selling proper electric cars - like the Mitsubishi Miev.

Making cars to the standards people expect these days is not easy, so change happens more slowly than people would like.

Look at the Mini-e - they lose the whole back seat to get the battery in - if this is the best BMW can do, it shows the battery problem is far from being solved.

The "Better place" shows another approach - battery swapping, but I would put my money on PHEVs - they require less new proprietary infrastructure.

Another worry is that with the price of oil < $50, the impetus to get electric cars working soon may dwindle.


Everyone I talk to in England is still concerned about the cost of petrol, and some of them would switch if they could, but outside London, where people face longer commutes on faster roads the electric car isn't likely to be a viable option. Not until the speed and range improves and the big carmakers start selling electric cars will things change.


We're crying out for decent electric vehicles here in the UK. Its appalling that the big guys are asking for bail outs and forever delaying electric vehicle programs whilst the small, innovative companies are left to go under.


What we need is a nanosolar of the battery world. They've changed the game with a $1 per watt solar cell, we need a $100 per kWh long life battery.

ZAP Xebra

I would imagine that the chief reason for fall in demand for EVs in Britain is falling gas prices. And oil prices at current levels are not sustainable, gas will go up again and we will once again see the same demand for EVs that we are seeing in the US right now. In the US demand is currently higher than supply.

Alberto G

When manufacturers start building electric vehicles that look like and have the safety features of regular cars, people will begin adopting them more widely.

Some might think that being capable of operating for more than 25 miles is a factor as well. Personally, I enjoy it when my car stops in the middle of nowhere while performing my daily commute to/from work.

Kit P

The concept that hauling batteries around is green is an illusion. A certain number of loons may buy BEV because of the novelty. The problem with that is the novelty goes away when more are seen. Put a BEV next to my 20 year old PU or my new Corolla, you will notice that my ICE POV are both functional and non polluting.

That Twit P, always the joker!

Andrey Levin

Current price for gasoline is about 30 US cents per liter. Everything else is government taxes.

Serfs in formerly Great Britain could be sure that their rulers will extract from motorists proper amount of & per mile traveled, being it solar-electric or nuclear-steam. Surfs are surfs, and rulers are rulers.

Cal Worthington

Alberto G:

I have a car that exactly meets your reqs - and a bridge for sale as well;)

What they're really saying is there are no electric cars for sale in UK. Except maybe a Tesla which has a body assembly plant there.

Kit P


I all ready have an ICE that meets my specs but tell me more about the bridge. I hope it has PV.

DIY Electric Car Guy

How's the market like for Do It Yourself (DIY) electric car owners in UK?

Some people prefer to convert their petrol driven car to electric. What's lacking is the electric charging station.

Account Deleted

I think, Electric Car Sales Drop in U.K. also Cost wise Expensive....
Car Sales

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