Electric cars are nothing new, however they are still not very popular amongst drivers across the world as they are deemed impractical and of bad quality. Yet due to the negative environmental effects of petrol and the fact that fossil fuels are running out, the UK government is planning on investing more money into electric cars in the hope that they will eventually become popular in the UK car market.
However, yesterday the chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, Ralf Speth, said that he thinks the investment would be a waste of money and that electric cars are not a mass market solution to climate change. The government is planning on giving subsidies to those that buy electric vehicles in a bid to make them more popular in the UK, but Mr Speth said that it was wrong to subsidise “poor electric vehicles” and charging stations throughout the UK, as the electric car is not yet of a good enough quality to be adopted on a mass scale, and can also lead to expensive motor insurance quotes.
At the Geneva motor show he said: “At this time I am not a very big friend of electric vehicles. The batteries are too expensive… the customer must be very rich, and can only use [them] in mega-cities [where there are charging points]. Should we only do it for the rich?” Speth suggested that instead of offering subsidies to those that buy electric cars now, that the government should wait until the technology improves and the price is for the vehicles is more reasonable. “The customer is clever enough to decide what he wants or doesn’t want,” he said, “Even with lots of subsidy the demand is not very high.”
Speth comments came not long after Nissan revealed that they were planning on moving the production of fifty thousand Leaf electric cars from Japan to Sunderland in a bid to reduce the cost of the models. On the 28th of March production of electric vehicles will commence at the northeast plant, and this will hopefully lead to the price of the Leaf being reduced by five thousand pounds to £23,490 government subsidy.
The executive vice-president of Nissan, Andy Palmer, agreed that even with the subsidy it may be difficult to improve the sales of electric cars however, especially due to “range anxiety”, where people fear they can’t travel to certain places in case they can’t find a charging station. He was still positive for the future though, as he said: “The UK is really leading the way in electric cars, and we would like to see other governments picking up on that.”