Call to give tax breaks and free parking to electric car owners

Call to give tax breaks and free parking to electric car owners
Call to give tax breaks and free parking to electric car owners

Britain should offer financial incentives such as tax exemptions and free parking to encourage the rapid adoption of electric cars, according to an industry expert.

Speaking after Prime Minister Theresa May said she wanted the UK to be a world leader in low-emissions vehicles, EV expert Guillaume Saint said the UK should follow Norway’s progressive approach to achieve that.

Mr Saint, global automotive practice lead at research and consultancy firm Kantar TNS, pointed to the country’s incentive-led approach to meeting its aim of 100 per cent zero emission new car sales by 2025.

Benefits

He said: “Last year – 35 per of Norway’s cars were fully electric [compared to the global average of one per cent], arguably achieved by making the vehicles appeal to more than just the environmentally friendly consumer.

“In Norway other benefits such as the smooth ride EV’s offer are actively promoted. By highlighting benefits alongside capital incentives and a high number of available charging points, the country has been able to drive mass uptake.”

Among the ways Norway has encouraged EV take-up is by exempting them from VAT/sales tax. In the UK that would knock 20 per cent off the purchase price of pure electric vehicles and address the concern among some that EVs are too expensive.

elcetric car
Oslo is one of the Norwegian cities that has dedicated spaces for EVs and free public charging

Mr Saint has also suggested Britain could offer other financial incentives such as lower energy costs for EV drivers to allow cheaper recharging and free charging stations in council-run parking facilities.

Convenience

Norwegian EV drivers are also allowed to use bus lanes, can park for free in any residents’ parking bays and have dedicated city centre parking areas in an effort to make EV ownership more convenient than owning a regular car.

Mr Saint also called for the wider introduction of publicly accessible charging points. Britain currently has around 18,000 charging points in 6,000 locations but lack of infrastructure is still regularly cited as a roadblock to people switching to EVs.

He told the i: “According to our research, one of the greatest obstacles to electric vehicle adoption is the lack of convenient charging stations.

“If Theresa May wishes to encourage more consumers to buy electric cars, then her government will need to invest and build the necessary infrastructure to make concerns about user’s ability to charge their vehicle no longer an issue, while considering how to stimulate demand such as through incentives to purchase.”

“Norway provides an inspiring model to follow on this. The country sells more electric vehicles than anywhere else in the world, and has trebled its number of charging stations from 3000 to 9000 between 2011 and 2017.

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