Since January 1st, the British Department of Transport started to issue grants of £5,000 (US$7,724) to purchase electric vehicles (EVs) as part of a larger, £400 million (US$618 million) drive to reduce emissions from road transport.
In response to the initiative, the Electrical Contractor’s Association (ECA) has issued a statement expressing concerns related to infrastructure.
“Whilst I welcome the introduction of the Electric Vehicle (EV) grant, for EVs to be truly successful we must first make sure we have the infrastructure in place. This means having enough charging points throughout the country; all with a common installation standard, to ensure that they work properly” said Steve Bratt, ECA’s CEO.
ECA represents 3,000 member companies involved in electrical installation work with a combined turnover of £5 billion (US$7.72 billion) and 30,000 staff. Its main mission is to promote safety, training, qualification, technological development and industry performance.
“If this initiative is successful, and the number of EVs on the road does increase significantly, it will be vital that the National Grid can cope. As without the correct infrastructure, the public could be left stranded as their car runs out of electricity. Before the Government takes steps to incentivise the purchase of electric cars, it first needs to address the issues which stand in the way of their future success. If we’re not careful we could see a rerun of battery cars, which became an object of media and popular ridicule during the 1980s”, added Bratt.
The first nine models to become eligible for grants are Mitsubishi iMiEV, smart fortwo electric drive, Peugeot iON, Citroen CZero, Nissan Leaf, Tata Vista EV, Toyota Prius Plug-in, Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt. More will be added in 2011.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.