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back to article UK electric car funding - another subsidy for the RICH, say MPs

The £11m of public money used to promote electric vehicles is mostly just helping rich Brits buy a second car, a group of MPs said. The Transport Select Committee has published a report questioning the value of spending millions trying to get electric cars on the road, claiming the money is only benefitting a "handful of …

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Re: Err...no, not really.@ German AC 22:14

Your wholesale electricity price is lower, but the charges that your government add on remove that advantage, which I believe we've already covered round here. But as you're not up to speed, let's ask a German company about this to check, shall we?

Page 136, 137:

http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/mediablob/en/108808/data/114404/36/rwe/investor-relations/factbook/Facts-Figures-2011.pdf

If Germany is such a leader in renewables, why has your solar industry gone bust? Do a google on "germany solar, bankruptcy" as you're evidently out of touch (and a trifle arrogant).

The reason Germany is doing so well economically is because it is enjoying a huge relative under-valuation of its currency, caused by the Southern Europeans entering the euro at too high a rate. That's why Greece is in flames, 40% of Spanish youth is unemployed, Portugal has needed a bailout, and Italy is looking very vulnerable unless the ECB print up some money and dish out some inflation. Germany has enjoyed this advantage for a decade, but when the time comes to sort the mess out, the Germans are sticking their fingers in their teutonic ears, demanding that they don't have to bail out the other Eurozone members, that there shouldn't be any inflationary money printing, and that their idiot banks should get back the money they foolishly lent to every piss pot project in Greece.

As for understanding green technology, look at the German decision to close your nuclear plants because you all got scared by a tsunami on the other side of the world? Big threat on the Baltic coast, is it? Net result, you're needing to generate with CO2-heavy lignite, proper coal, gas, and other people's nuclear output. And then people like you choose to lecture us. What a bunch of stupid hypocrites.

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Anonymous Coward

--> helping rich Brits

"The £11m of public money used to promote electric vehicles is mostly just helping rich Brits buy a second car, a group of MPs said."

The poor subsidizing the rich - the very essence of socialism! Ling live Soviet England!

And just wait till you run out of electricity and they start rationing it - you chumps will really enjoy the feeling of purity you'll get from it!

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Re: --> helping rich Brits

Idiot.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: --> helping rich Brits

The rich pay more tax than the poor, so really it's the rich subsidising the rich.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: --> helping rich Brits

Yes, but people like redistribution of wealth in this country. This isn't the USA (yet).

This chart shows who pays what:

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46940000/gif/_46940074_blastland_tax1_466.gif

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HMB
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Re: --> helping rich Brits

"The rich pay more tax than the poor, so really it's the rich subsidising the rich."

You've clearly never seen how much tax some rich people pay when they get a small wage and large dividends all worked through clever accounting and a separate limited company. All made possible by a government that frowns on the practise in public but hasn't changed the game.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: --> helping rich Brits

@HMB - you may want to look at the graph in the above post then...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: --> helping rich Brits

> You've clearly never seen how much tax some rich people pay when they get a small wage and large dividends

Dividends are counted as income and subject to income tax so if you add their wages and dividends together they will pay 10% up to £8,105, 20% up to £34,370, 40% up to £150,000 and 45% for anything over that.

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Re: --> helping rich Brits

Interesting diagram -- but it's missing a middle bit.

The graph you include was

Segments of population -> tax paid

I want

Segments of population -> income -> tax paid

I think that middle bit is rather important.

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Re: --> helping rich Brits

"Dividends are counted as income and subject to income tax"

Not quite. To over-simplify (naturally, the actual position is hugely complex and demands highly-paid tax-lawyers and accountants): dividends are subject to higher-rate tax only, they are assumed to be basic tax paid, since the business that paid them will have been subject to Corporation Tax. So they don't allow you to make vast tax savings unless you've got a partner that has a tax-free allowance that can be used.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: --> helping rich Brits

> To over-simplify (naturally, the actual position is hugely complex and demands highly-paid tax-lawyers and accountants)

Nope. There is a box on your tax return where you write in the amount of dividends you have received, no need to involve tax lawyers and accountants.

> dividends are subject to higher-rate tax only, they are assumed to be basic tax paid

They are basic tax paid, no assumption is involved. As for only being subject to higher rate tax, if your total income falls below the basic rate then you will get a tax rebate.

Dividends (and interest) used to be paid gross until the Conservatives (in the 1980s I think) changed it so they are now paid net of tax. This was specifically targeted at those avoiding/evading their tax liability.

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Spend it on paint instead

A far better use of the money would have been to paint a strip of blue along the side of the roads like they do in London. These blue strips are very useful for drivers, they indicate how far you can poke your car out from a side road when waiting to join the main traffic flow without getting clipped by another large box of metal driven by somebody else too posh to take public transport or cycle or walk.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "how far you can poke ... out"

or you could just stop behind the line, as that's what it's there for.

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Re: "how far you can poke ... out"

That's what I used to think but every morning and evening cycling along those so-called Superhighways I see the true purpose of the blue paint.

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Re: "how far you can poke ... out"

We don't have the blue lines up here, so the lanes are generally used for parking in.

There are some crazy bits of road with cycle lanes painted on them and traffic islands squeezing the lane so tight that a car cannot avoid the cycle lane even if it wanted to.

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Re: "how far you can poke ... out"

The key aim of cycle lanes in many areas is not to achieve a safer means for cyclists to get around but merely to add to the mileage of cycle lanes the council can boast about. I've seen bits of lane as short as 2 metres, utterly pointless but 2 more metres added to the green credentials so that's OK!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Spend it on paint instead

When cyclists start paying road tax and stop riding on the pavements every time they hit a red light, I'll start listening to their complaints.

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Facepalm

Re: Spend it on paint instead

When some motorists (you - I'm not stereotyping) realise that there has been no such thing as Road Tax since 1937, then someone might start listening to them.

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Re: Spend it on paint instead

You do realise that electric cars done pay any vehicle tax either you fucking retard!

Stop having a trollish dig at cyclists and moan about leccy cars not paying tax...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Spend it on paint instead

Hit a nerve have I?

I'm moaning about anybody who uses the roads and doesn't pay for them. The previous comment just happened to mention cyclists.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Spend it on paint instead

'When some motorists (you - I'm not stereotyping) realise that there has been no such thing as Road Tax since 1937, then someone might start listening to them.'

They changed the name to Vehicle Excise Duty and ended the link between tax revenue and spending on roads (so that they could build expensive motorways using debt). This doesn't mean the tax has ceased to exist.

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Charging

Electric cars aren't going to take off until they're (almost) as easy to recharge as a petrol car is to refuel. Also, the price has to come down a lot. Also, since batteries have a limited life, I'd imagine electric cars aren't that attractive as second hand cars.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charging

How about putting in electric wires above the streets (like trams or dodge-'ems) and letting cars use them?

Then you can run electric in the city where petrol is inefficient and you don't need to carry batteries.

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Go

Re: Charging

Surely safer to put down inductive charging loops next time the roads are resurfaced.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charging

Newer battery technologies / chemistries like LiFEPO4 / A123 Systems can be charged much quicker than many older types of batteries and has a much longer life - typically 2000+ full cycles until the cells lose perhaps around 20% of their rated capacity (which still does not mean they are dead). Even if you fully discharged the battery every single day that is still about 5.5 years - partial discharges would extend it further.

I admit with current technology you can't really 'refuel' a battery as quickly as you can refill your tank with petrol - for that you would need replaceable battery packs. I prefer the idea of an all electric car myself but hybrid options (with a petrol motor) may be a decent option for many people who travel further each day.

Battery technology is best suited to applications where you know the range required each day - i.e. busses / some delivery vehicles probably do the same distance every day +/- 10-20% - so you can install sufficient batteries. Plus they usually return to a central depot which makes recharging overnight simpler.

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Re: Charging

"Surely safer to put down inductive charging loops next time the roads are resurfaced." - but very wasteful.

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Re: Charging

I love the way people talk as if miles of heavy-duty high-current-carrying copper along public streets is not only free, but unlikely to be the target of thieves either.

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Re: Charging

I'm sure the battery packs can be replaced. But it will cost a pretty penny, along with disposal of the old ones.

Charging is always going to be an issue. When I had a flat in town, there was no way I could park near enough my flat to dangle a cable out the window to the car. I was lucky if I even got it in the same street.

As it now stands, I have a driveway for one car. Car number 2 gets randomly parked in the street, so only one could get charged at a time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charging

@Lee - Yes, it's a good job three is no precedent for running high current electricity in towns to prove you wrong.

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Re: Charging - The ultimate answer

Agree on a uniform battery chemistry, size and container.

Have batteries much like you have propane bottles today. Stop at any gas station, pop out your current battery, put in a freshly charged one, paying just the electricity you purchased.

- RFID keeps track of batteries

- Massive economies of scale

- On-board circuitry can alter the basic output to whatever each car needs

- Should a new chemistry or better performing battery be made available, you can still utilise it by paying an upgrade fee.

Only problem: needs government sanction as otherwise, there is insufficient motive for all suppliers to conform, plus no-one working on next-gen batteries will be too keen on standardising and opening their patents to FRAND licencing. Too precious a competitive advantage.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charging - The ultimate answer

The issues with batteries can probably be overcome.

Maybe rent the battery and change it for a charged one at the "petrol" station (perhaps for a battery containing a mix of older and newer cells so you get roughly the same amount of stored energy each time) and charge the customer on a metered basis for the juice that's withdrawn.

Also, don't buy the batteries, rent them with a deposit like calor gas cylinders and make them of a common standard.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charging

It's not just the charging that is an issue, they have a limited mileage and it decreases with use of heater, lights, wiper etc.

Next time you're in a winter hold up due to busses stacked 15 back on islington upper st / essex road, feel sorry for the G-Wiz driver shivering whilst unable to use his headlights in case they cant make it to the next stop and the people cursing him for not being able to accelerate quickly enough for them to get through the lights before they turn red again in 30 seconds.

This is the reality of why leccy cars are not selling.

Also when you buy a secondhand one at 3 years old, remember to budget for a new battery pack at £5K plus

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Re: Charging

@Anon: Wow... your town is wired with copper that was not only free for the original purchaser but thief-proof too? Wonderful. A lot of people would want to know how you achieved that. British Rail, power networks, BT, you name it. Because they all have lots of VERY EXPENSIVE copper installations, with lethal current running through them at some points, and ALL cite that metal theft is costing them millions alone in affecting their business (not to mention the cost of replacement!)

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Re: Charging

"How about putting in electric wires above the streets (like trams or dodge-'ems) and letting cars use them?"

For traction purposes you'd need a minimum of 415V across the system, you'd need clearance for HGVs and the like, so that's a wire 20 feet above road level. Now think about the pantographs used by trains to collect power, and imagine one of those fifteen feet or more tall on top of your car, built to be robust, idiot driver proof, safe, crash worthy and fit for British weather. There's probably system capacity issues around demand in instances like the traffic lights changing, and one hundred cars trying to accelerate at the same time.

The principle is nice, just not very practical (and that's before we get into any real electrical issues).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charging

Tell us about it.

2000+ lines down in the area with another several days before they are restored...

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Re: pop out your current battery, put in a freshly charged one,

You're ignoring two things:

1) The amount of storage space needed to keep all those batteries waiting to be swapped. A filling station could see 1000 vehicles a day, that's perhaps 500 batteries (full of hazardous materials) on charge at one time.

2) The amount of energy that you would need to suppy to the 'filling station" to charge all the swapped batteries. Level 2 chargers can draw 20kW. 500 batteries all drawing that much power would take a hefty extension from the grid to each station, or a local gas/diesel power station.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charging - The ultimate answer

@Turtle_Fan

Just like that - "pop out your current battery"? You make it sound so easy, and maybe it is for you. But how about for someone with a bad back, or the elderly, or pregnant women? A normal car battery is heavy enough & maybe beyond the capability of some to carry, and for electric cars you're talking about more and/or heavier batteries. Then factor in the dirt & grime you'll get on them & work out if you'd like to have to do that on your way to an important business meeting or a wedding, anywhere you need to look clean & smart.

The other option would be have employees at the battery changing stations to do all this, vastly increasing the cost.

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Anonymous Coward

It's like home solar - subsidy for the rich(er) paid for by the poor(er).

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This post has been deleted by its author

Think!

"It's like home solar - subsidy for the rich(er) paid for by the poor(er)."

No it is not.

Solar subsidys cost add less than 2% to each persons electricity bill. Since Jan electricity bills have gone up by about 9%. Over the past 6 years prices have gone up by about 95%. If prices double in the next 6 years then solar subsidys will cost about 1% of each persons electricity bill. I forked out £15k for solarPV because of the subsidy and it should work out to be a highly profitable investment.

If you really wish to get rid of subsidys then lets dump the £5bn or so that we give to the Gas and Oil industry.

If someone is "Rich" then it is doubtful that they are really looking to put down £10-15k to just get back a paultry £1,500 a year.

And just to be curious. Do you really think that someone earning £300,000 a year is driving a GWiz ?

EV's are not the same as Hybrids and those are not the same as Plug-In Hybrids.

The EV subsidy is abused for "Hybrids", but Plug-In Hybrids and full EV cars are different. I would like to see the subsidy move to be for 100% EV vehicles ONLY.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Think!

Yes it is. Rich(er) people and companies can afford to install solar systems and benefit from a subsidy paid for by everyone else. Regardless of how much electricity bills have gone up they have gone up MORE as a result of solar subsidies.

At least with other subsidies (for instance on a nuclear power station) everyone benefits from the electricity it generates - with solar the person with the panels benefits - everyone else pays. Remember many people can either not afford the panels themselves or do not have a suitable roof - so they cannot benefit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Think!

Exactly - you installed a solar system as an investment - being 'green' was not the primary objective. Yet everyone else pays for it in higher bills - people who can't afford the install (i.e. most people!), people who do not have a suitable roof (not south facing / flats) and people who rent.

So YES solar subsidies benefit richer people who can afford the £10-15k charge and are paid for by other people who can either not get solar at all or can't afford it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Think!

I'd call someone relatively 'rich' if they can afford £10000-15000 for a solar installation and certainly anyone who regards £1500 per year as paltry (not paultry!) is clearly not seeing this from 'most' peoples point of view.

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Re: Think!

And that £1500 is tax free!

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Megaphone

Re: Think!@ J Lewter

"If you really wish to get rid of subsidys then lets dump the £5bn or so that we give to the Gas and Oil industry."

Ooh, look, we actually take around ten billion quid a year tax revenuse from this sector:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/corporate_tax/table11-11.pdf

On solar, if you want to pay 2% extra for your electricity, feel free. On my own account I don't want to fund eco-bling for tw@ts, and I rather be left to decide how to spend that money myself.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Think!

Which of course is of (even) more benefit to richer people who typically pay a higher rate of tax.

People who buy these solar systems do it as an investment with little regard to being green. Take away the subsidies and these systems typically generate £200-400 worth of electricity per year - not much return on your £10000-150000 'investment'.

By the time you add in insurance / warranty / maintenance costs you would be losing money (without the subsidy). It's the same as people who buy a Prius - WHY - the car does less MPG than some other similar conventional cars and is expensive. Purely a case of conspicuous consumption - i.e. you want people to 'see' you are being 'green' regardless of whether or not you are...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Think!

> If you really wish to get rid of subsidys then lets dump the £5bn or so that we give to the Gas and Oil industry.

What £5bn? It doesn't exist. It is in fact a bit of creative accounting by green lobbying groups.

The £5bn is largely comprised of only charging the consumer 5% VAT for energy. This 5% VAT is irrespective of whether the electricity is generated by hydro, nuclear, wind, coal, gas or oil and it is not a subsidy.

What you are proposing is that the government increase VAT on fuel to 20%.

Finally, if you are going to count 5% VAT on fuel as a subsidy then you should count the £28bn in fuel duty as a penalty to the Oil industry.

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Nev
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"Eco-Bling for tw@ts"

An upvote for that one!

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Re: Think!

They probably generate closer to £500+ PA directly.

15k£ is not "richer"... Many people on benefits are getting well in excess of that amount yearly, even the lowest on benefits get that every two years. It is also worth noting that now my £15k install can be had for about £3.5k.

I did get it to be "green", but I would not have done so unless it would have at least broken even. Do you think people "who work, and own homes" should try to be green while giving subsidy to all of the benefit-ites out there who can enjoy cheap carbon based fuel?.

No one did seem to answer the question. How many gwiz owners are actually at the top of the income tree, no one will touch that because you know it is not a car for the "rich". And to me £1,500 isnt paultry, but to someone who is deemed "rich" it will be, but perhaps those of you AC's who collect your gov money every friday cant see the difference. Everyone had (and still has) a chance to buy into this scheme. If you really want to be excluded from it then have your electricity cut off.

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Re: Think!

Some may well be getting more than 15,000 from benefits, but what defines it as 'richer' is that you are able to spare 15k for PV. I earn a lot more than 15k a year, but I also pay a lot more than that on bills and living expenses. So, yeah, if you have 15k disposable income (or the flexibility to free that up) then you fall in the 'richer' category (based on comparison to my own means).

I don't spend 15,000 on a car because I don't have the cash, so being able to splash on PV is way out of the question!

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