Friday, October 22, 2010

Joy in Heaven

Sales of new electric cars in the UK plummeted by nearly 90 percent in 2009 compared with their peak in 2007, according to motoring trade association figures released this week. These tidings are brought to us by The Guardian, which tells us that just 55 of the "green" cars – whose fans include Boris Johnson, Jonathan Ross and Jade Jagger – were registered in 2009. That compares with 397 in 2007.

This is on the eve of the start of the government scheme to offer a subsidy of £5,000 to any idiot stupid enough to buy one of these machines - so it is possible that we will see an uptick next year. There is one born every minute, they say, and most are coloured green.

One of those is obviously Richard Dyer, transport campaigner at Friends of the Earth. He says: "The number of electric car sales are certainly disappointing. It could well be down to the recession, and the fact that they are priced at a premium over normal cars. But the government grant in January should mean a change in the fortunes of electric cars."

Somehow, I doubt it. Electric models which will be available include the £28,900 four-seater Mitsubishi iMiEV, a right-hand drive version of the unpriced Norwegian-made Th!nk City and the £28,350 Nissan Leaf, which Nissan claims is "the first mass-market electric car".

But with the prices of the Ford Focus starting at £12,731.91 (and hefty discounts available), Dyer is dreaming if he thinks the Great British Public are going to fall in love with his electric crappo. Five grand doesn't even dent the difference.