Roddy Graham's Blog: 10 December 2009 - Electrifying budget
10 December 2009
Roddy Graham is chairman of the ICFM and commercial director of Leasedrive Velo
Electric vehicles are very much flavour of the month with Government. Chancellor Alistair Darling in this week's Pre-Budget Report has announced that from April next year he is giving company car drivers who opt for the electric option a five-year break from benefit-in-kind.
Coming hot on the heels of the incentive in April of up to £5000 off a new electric car from 2011/12, this is good news for environmentally-minded company car drivers, who still currently have to pay 9% BIK on their electric cars.
Even van drivers are being given a five-year holiday for going electric plus a 100% writing down allowance for the first year.
In some ways, I see electric van sales possibly becoming more popular initially pro-rata than electric car sales as local delivery drivers opt for the cheaper, greener electric van route.
Earlier in the year, RAC Foundation research indicated a fifth of the UK's 34 million drivers would consider or were planning to buy an electric car within the next five years.
However, lacking a proper re-charging network infrastructure, the Government acknowledged that electric vehicles would not be available as mass-market alternatives until 2017 at the earliest.
The PBR announcements would indicate Government wants to jump-start the switchover.
Widespread adoption of electric vehicles will definitely depend on a viable public re-charging point infrastructure but Government may be hoping the incentives to individuals and companies will hasten its creation at a practical level.
We've had the Energy Technologies Institute announce a number of UK major cities are to gain charging points for electric and hybrid fuelled vehicles under an £11m development plan, which will see a Joined-Cities Plan initially set up charging points in a nine UK cities including 25,000 in London by 2015. And then, this November, we heard about the Plugged-In Places initiative which will fund charging points in streets, car parks, commercial, retail and leisure facilities to the tune of £30m in three to six UK regions as a precursor to a nationwide roll-out.
Whether joined up, plugged in or plain fully-charged, the switch to electric transportation is slowly gaining momentum, a bit like when you depress the accelerator on an electric vehicle.