Electric cars still spark interest in East Renfrewshire – despite cut in subsidies

Electric cars sales are stronger in East Renfrewshire than in much of the rest of the country.
Electric cars sales are stronger in East Renfrewshire than in much of the rest of the country.

East Renfrewshire’s drivers remain on board the green revolution as government cuts to subsidies have not quashed their enthusiasm for electric cars.

Discounts on fully and partially electric cars from the Department for Transport were cut from £4,500 to £3,500 in November 2018.

In March, the number of registered plug-in vehicles in the area had increased by 72 per cent in the previous year – one of the biggest rises in the country.

The latest DfT statistics show the number of registered electric or plug-in hybrid cars, vans and micro cars, called quadricycles, in East Renfrewshire.

At the beginning of 2018, there were 169 electric vehicles.

By March this year, that figure had grown to 290, an increase of 121.

But back in 2014, in East Renfrewshire, there were just seven electric cars, which shows the progress the industry has made in a short time.

Across the UK, the number of plug-in electric cars rose by 38 per cent over the last year, the smallest increase since the Government started offering subsidies for purchasing green vehicles in 2011, and much lower than the 150 per cent increase in 2015.

Stuart Pocock, chief operating officer at the Renewable Energy Association, said: “The removal of the plug-in car grant has unsurprisingly had a negative impact on the sale of electric vehicles.

“However, the majority of the decrease can be attributed to the decrease in the sale of hybrid vehicles.

“The overall growth slowdown of electric vehicles could signal a move away from petrol and diesel hybrids towards the greater uptake of battery electric vehicles.

“If we are to improve air quality and reach net zero emissions by 2050 we need to speed up the move towards battery electric vehicles and a rise in the sale of these signals a step in the right direction.”

One advantage electric car users have over other vehicles is that they do not have to pay road tax, as they do not release any emissions.

Electricity is also far cheaper than petrol and diesel, and green drivers have the satisfaction of helping save the planet.

Plug-in vehicles still make up a tiny percentage of the cars on the road in East Renfrewshire.

Compared with 290 the electric cars on our roads, there are 52,000 vehicles in total.