In what is undoubtedly bad news for car providers, electric car sales are following the trend set by their internal combustion counterparts and are well below expectations.
Only 308 electric cars have been purchased through the Government's grant scheme during the period between June and September this year.
The Government is granting a £5,000 subsidy to buyers of electric vehicles in a programme that has been in place since January 2011, but for various reasons car owners seem reluctant to say goodbye to the good old internal combustion engine just yet.
During the first quarter of 2011, 465 new electric cars were registered. This nearly halved to 215 during the second quarter, so the third quarter's figure actually represents a slight recovery in the market.
The sluggish sales seem to indicate that even the £5,000 subsidy is not sufficient to tempt the average motorist into buying an electric car. The Government has made a total of £43 million available through the grant scheme, which is enough to subsidise 8,600 cars, but at this stage it is indeed very unlikely that even 25% of that money will be used. Less than £4m has been spent up to now.
The situation in the rest of Europe is not much different. Even in countries that are offering subsidies as high as £18,000, sales remain well below expectations.
A point in case is Belgium, where only 85 electric cars were sold during the first six months of 2011, despite a government subsidy of £9,496.
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