The Climate Scaremongers: Reality Catches Up With The Electric Car
For years we have been told how wonderful electric cars will be. How they would be cheap to buy and run, how they would create gazillions of green jobs, and how they would power our economy through the 21st century!
They were to be the poster child of the glorious green future waiting for us just around the corner, where we would all be much better off without all those nasty fossil fuels! Bit by bit, however, things are turning out to be not quite as wonderful as advertised. [bold, links added]
The latest blow came last week when BMW announced it was moving production of its electric Mini from the UK to China, where manufacturing is powered by cheap coal.
It is unlikely that BMW will be the last to make this switch.
A £3.8 billion ‘gigafactory’ was supposed to produce batteries for 300,000 cars and vans a year and employ 3,000 people at Blyth in Northumberland. If Britishvolt folds, those 300,000 batteries a year will be imported from China, which already dominates the global market.
As with most products, we are learning the hard way that British manufacturing jobs end up going to China, not least because energy costs are much lower there.
Meanwhile, the increase in electricity prices this year has meant that charging your electric car at home is now more expensive than filling up with petrol when the cost of fuel duty and VAT is excluded.
If you need to use a public charger, your cost is even higher, making it more than twice as dear to run than a diesel equivalent, according to a survey by Parkers.
Electric car drivers continue to be heavily subsidized, which is probably the major factor behind their sales. Although subsidies towards the purchase of EVs have been discontinued [in the UK], electric car drivers don’t pay fuel duty or vehicle excise tax, while VAT on electricity is only 5 percent as opposed to 20 percent for fuel.
This works out to an average saving of about £1,100 a year. On top of that, EVs are often exempted from congestion charges, and company car drivers pay an ultra-low rate of benefit-in-kind tax on EVs, typically worth around £2,000 a year.
The combined cost of all these subsidies to the government is already well over a billion pounds a year. And this amount could increase tenfold in the next five years if government EV sales targets are met.
At a time when the public sector deficit is at unsustainably high levels, this is money that the Exchequer simply cannot afford to give away.
Eventually, it is likely that some sort of road-charging mechanism will be introduced, but this will take years to implement.
In the meantime, the government must bite the bullet, end the benefit-in-kind subsidy and start charging vehicle excise duty on all EVs at a rate of, say, £1,000 a year to make up for the loss of fuel duty.
This will probably kill the EV market stone dead, and leave the 2030 target for banning petrol/diesel cars in the air. But the current economic and financial crisis must take priority over the Net Zero agenda.
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