The UK’s Guardian reports that sales of new electric cars in the UK plummeted by nearly 90% in 2009 to 55 units, compared with their peak sales of 397 units in 2007.
The huge fall is a blow to UK efforts to meet tough carbon emission cut targets in a decade, and comes just months before the government introduces a subsidy of up to £5,000 off new electric cars. Nearly half of the electric vehicles sold last year were the tiny G-Wiz car. The latest model has a top speed of 50mph and a range of 48 miles between charges.
...Although sales of all new cars fell sharply in 2009 due to the recession, the drop in new registrations for electric cars was around eight times higher. Overall, 2m new cars were registered in 2009, the lowest level since 1995.
...In January, the coalition will begin offering up to £5,000 towards the price of a series of newly launched electric cars, as part of a subsidy announced by the former Labour government. The Department for Transport (DfT) anticipates around 8,600 of the cars will be sold in the first year of the scheme. The government has so far committed £43m for the scheme to run until March 2012, with a review taking place in January 2012, but in yesterday’s spending review it talked of “supporting consumer incentives for electric and other low-emission cars throughout the life of this parliament,” suggesting the subsidy would continue after March 2012 though possibly at a lower rate.