back to article Govt powers up electric cars with £5k subsidy

Anyone looking to buy an electric car in the UK could soon be eligible for a £5000 ($7500/€5600) rebate, thanks to a new government eco motoring incentive. Ampera Cars like Vauxhall's Ampera (above) could become £5K cheaper come 2011 The subsidy, grant, rebate or whatever you care to call it will be available from 2011 and …


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  1. Law
    Paris Hilton

    waiiiiiiiiiit a minute

    wasn't it only last month we were being told we have an energy shortage coming up with closing stations and no new ones opening to cover demand - and that we should all stop buying HD TV's, and buy fridges that don't turn on during peak hours....... and now they want me to plug my car into the mains every night?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    Paris - cos she'd be as confused as me!

  2. W

    Re: "Can I get £5k for walking to work then?"

    If I had my way, yes.

    The whole leccy car thing was ridiculous enough before we introduced this subsidy nonsense.

    Can I have, say, £2500 using the train or bus for all of my journeys instead of a car? Give or take a few quid, that'd probably roughly equate to free travel for me. Nice. Incidentaly free public transport was a policy of the Socialists at the last Scottish elections. So I guess there's no chance that the historically socialist Labour party could even consider it.

    Joking aside, that proves how outrageous the £5k handout is. It's almost as if Gordon Brown is trying to come up with a measure that will achieve exactly what he set out to do when he increased the lower rate of income tax for low earners. What chance a national outrage over this?

    Yet another chronic misdirection of public funds... But it won't get any better (in England) when the Tories get in (in England). Maybe when the Tories get in at the next general election, the Scottish purse and it's strings will be handed over (or wrenched back), and then the SNP can have a go at making a better job of things up here.


    [External Electricity Charging Points] + [Rain[ = [Fail] ...surely?

  3. O
    Thumb Down


    And why the hell didn't they do this 5 years ago, as everyone has been imploring them to do? And why have they decided that this will come into being in 2011?

    1) Because they're desperate to do the oil and car industry's bidding.

    2) They'll be out of office in 2011 and won't have to keep any promises they make now, thus delaying any potential introduction of subsidies even further.

    3) Brown's desperate for good PR, and is copying the 'Obama message' as much as he possibly can. Coincidence that it's $7500 in both countries.

  4. Thomas Chippendale

    If only there were any electric cars

    I hope it works to increase demand, so that there are some electric cars to buy. I'd really like to buy one. But after all these years, there still aren't any for sale. There are four-wheeled quad bikes with closed cabins which are inexplicably described as a 'car' in the press despite failing to be legally classified as such in the UK. But no real electric cars. It doesn't have to be anything huge. Even an electric Smart car would be alright. At least it's a car.

    Often I read reports that such a car would be no use since it would only travel fifty miles or so on a charge. But my journeys tend to be less than ten miles. So it doesn't matter much. Thirty miles or so would be range enough for me.

    Sometimes people remark upon the difficulties of charging them. But I could charge a car at the private car park both at home and at the office. Or even at the public charging posts near both my home and my office.

    I do not imagine the car manufacturers are stupid. The trouble is that someone like me - who makes short journeys, has another car already which would work for longer journeys or holidays outside the city, is prepared to pay the cost of an electric car at more than the sub-10k cost of quad bikes like the G-whiz, and parks in a staffed and secure space at home and at work where power could easily be made available - is just not usual enough for the concept to be profitable.

    So it would be nice for me if the £5k changed the balance enough to make the manufacture of electric cars viable.

    Not that I think it is a good reason to tax people, mind you...

  5. WonkoTheSane

    @David Nicholson

    "Just by a petrol-powered generator and plug your car in to that. There's loads of petrol stations all over the place, so charging isn't a problem. You could even keep the generator in the boot!"

    This is exactly how the Chevy Volt / Vauxhall Ampera will work.

    40 miles worth of battery charge & a 1litre petrol generator on board.

    Still waiting for the "Tesla F" - fuel cell version of the roadster that they haven't thought of yet!

  6. John Smith Gold badge

    Party leaving etiquette quiz. Do you

    A. Thank your host for the pleasant evening you have had, congratulate them on the selection of some of their other guests and and offer to help with the clean up.

    B. Scoff remaining nibbles, sticking any full bottles in your side pockets. Grope your host or their SO before spewing up on the living room carpet. Retreat out the door with the words "So long suckers. I'll be back when you've had a chance to re-stock your booze."Not forgetting to empty your bladder in the front garden on the way out.

    On a serious note. Even Robert Mugabe managed to organise an election by now. With the odds on bet being Labour loose the eventual election this is laying the ground work for a whine along the lines of "*We* would have done this but the tories care nothing for the environment etc etc." If they *want* to do something for the environment offer the money to people to crush any car over (5?, 10?) years old. The *average* level of vehicle emissions should go down, money goes into the economy and people buy cars (actual real goods) , some of them new. A *relatively* modern car should hammer old bangers

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    1 - can I have a trial of a leccie powered wheelchair accessible vehicle (thought not)

    2 - perhaps the banks & finance sector can jump in at at least match the government cash back (thought not)

    3 - maybe retailers/sellers will resist every temptation to put the selling price up by the same amount (thought not?)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I can see it now

    Someone please call me cynical, but does this mean that from 2011 our pavements will get even more cram packed full of mobility scooters when the OAP's realise they can increase their pension pot by tear-arsing round the city centres in their new fangled contraptions that government are going to give them £5,000 to ride?

    And where can I buy a cheap milk float to grab my share of this free money? Ernie would be so proud.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where is the power comming from ?

    'Green' cars are touted as those that produce less CO2, what no one ever mentions is where the power to re-charge the cars comes from, if you plug it into the mains theres the extra power requirements at the power station, which means more coal, oil, pollution to cope with demand.

    what is the real 'green' cost of producing a new car compared with running an older car, albeit with higher CO2 emissions, I bet over the life of the car its still more effective to run the older car. Prehaps we should be looking at way to keep older cars on the road and cut down the emissions and draw in natural resources to produce new cars.

  10. Tony Hoyle

    No infrastructure

    ..and no announcement of money to buy that infrastructure.

    To put charging points on the street you'd realistically have to rip up every residental street in the UK, put mains power down it, bollards, etc. That's an undertaking that'll cost millions if not billions.

    Driveways? A lot (most? certainly around here) have no access to such a thing. Power cables out of the window? I can see that working... Not to mention risk of electrocution as some mumpty tries to charge their car in the rain with a wet cable...

    Plus as pointed out elsewhere, you're not saving CO2 emissions, you're pushing it elswhere and introducing inefficiency into the system as well - power lines have resistance and lose energy, so you've got to generate more power than you need to compensate.

    Research into Hydrogen or some other transportable power source would make sense.. but this simply doesn't - it's a cash handout to the car manufacturers (who will instantly put up their prices by £5000) and a lame attempt to look green. It's a lot cheaper to convert a petrol station into a hydrogen station or an unobtanium station than to try to blanket the country in power sockets.

  11. John Smith Gold badge

    infrastructure, not subsidy

    People don't buy e-cars because they cannot afford them. They don't buy them because few are crash tested (except the g-whizz and the electric Smart), or look awful or have limited range. Or all three at once.

    If the government is serious it needs to improve the infrastructure. If you can drive to a train station or a works car park and leave it for the day, as a *lot* of people do, that gets the demand in one place. Would beefing up the supply to individual railway stations (on an electric track of course) be that difficult? Would it not be a good incentive to electrify more lines? Would it pump fund directly into British industry. These are things that Government is for.

    Now that sounds more like helping Business, Enterprise and the Environment.

    Otherwise this is more Greenwash.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missing that...

    It still applies to hybrids, or at least most of you are. Yes hybrids still use petrol, but only in limited bursts. The electric motors are more power efficient than directly powering the wheels by the petrol engine I understand, as well as the fact that they don't use anything at all while they are stopped when you're snarled up in a traffic jam or waiting at lights. I imagine hybrids would be far more useful as part of this than pure electric cars.

    Then again the people who think Labour are trying to crap on the next government have a point too.

  13. John Smith Gold badge

    Some hybrids can plug into the mains

    Toyota are now officially trialling a Prius which can plug into the mains.

    Which is interesting given that they were not happy when US techies modified ones to have a plug. I guess Toyota felt that having 2 potential openings to fill up was just too confusing for the average septic.

    It seems the viability of a hybrid depends on how much the battery does actual work and how much it's there to beat regulation. I note the average speed in London is now listed as somewhere in the 4-8mph range (google search) . The Prius engine does not cut in below 15mph.

  14. John Smith Gold badge

    Budget latest. Car scrapping @ 2k for > 10 yr old cars

    But only for brand new cars. Which will give you a deposit. Whereas £2k should get you most if not all of a reasonable "pre-owned" vehicle.

    And not until 2010.

    Still better than nothing. But will it save them?

  15. John Smith Gold badge


    That should have read Until March 2010.

    Or Labour loose their next election.


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