Nobody Is Buying Electric Cars After The Government Slashed Subsidies

Andrew Follett | Energy and Science Reporter

Electric car sales plummeted after U.K. politicians cut subsidies in half, according to government figures.

Department for Transport figures show sales of electric cars hit two-year lows in April and June, selling a mere 4,200 plug-in cars during those months. The news comes after the government announced plans last year to extend the availability of electric car subsidies, but cut the amount of cash per-person in half.

Brits purchased 17,500 cars in the three months directly before subsidies were cut.

A total of 66,296 electric cars have taken advantage of the subsidies. The subsidies paid for roughly 25 percent of the cost of a new electric car, up to a maximum of $6,500.

Britain may have problems charging its electric cars, as the government announced it wants to phase out existing coal power over the next 10 to 15 years, which will make replacing lost energy capacity even harder. Closing the country’s remaining 15 coal plants will take a whopping 24,830 megawatts of generational capacity offline, meaning that somewhere between 20.2 percent to 34.6 percent of Britain’s electricity will have to be replaced.

Emergency measures to keep the lights on in the U.K were taken, but official analysis suggests there could still be insufficient electricity. Brownouts and blackouts are already impacting Britain.

The alternatives to coal power in the U.K. are not promising. Wind and solar run the risk of producing too much or too little electricity, which can overload and ultimately fry the power grid. These surges in wind or solar are why electrical companies will occasionally pay consumers to take electricity.

Britain’s attempts to use wind or solar power are immensely costly. U.K. residents paid a whopping 54 percent more for electricity than Americans in 2014, while energy taxes cost British residents roughly $6.6 billion every year. Green energy subsidies in the U.K regularly exceed spending caps and account for roughly 7 percent of British energy bills, according to government study released in July 2015.

Polling indicates that 38 percent of British households are cutting back essential purchases, like food, to pay for high energy bills. Another 59 percent of homes are worried about how they are going to pay energy bills. Companies are getting hit by pricey British electricity as well, and some are even leaving the country because of it, threatening up to 40,000 jobs.

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