More Wigan drivers turn to electric-powered cars

Electric charging points are few and far between in Wigan, but electric cars are growing in number
Electric charging points are few and far between in Wigan, but electric cars are growing in number

Dozens of new electric vehicles were licensed in Wigan last year, the latest figures reveal.

But with the eco-friendly motors still making up a small share of the market, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has called for measures to drive up their use.

Department for Transport statistics show 382 ultra-low emission vehicles were licensed in Wigan at the end of September – 65 more than the same point in 2018.

The figures include battery electric, hybrid, and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Across the UK, 247,000 such vehicles were licensed at the end of September – a 33 per cent rise on the previous year. They include 70,000 registered in the last year – just 2.4 per cent of three million new vehicles overall.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said the industry was committed to zero-emission transport, but urged the Government to encourage uptake.

“Ambition must be matched by a package of initiatives that encourage investment and innovation and allow manufacturers to sell competitively,” he added.

“This includes long-term government commitment to incentives and substantial investment in infrastructure.”

In 2018, the Government announced its ambition for at least half of new cars to be ultra-low emission by 2030.

But later in the year, it announced cuts to subsidies for green vehicles, scrapping a £2,500 grant for plug-in hybrids, and slashing one for fully electric vehicles from £4,500 to £3,500.

A DfT spokeswoman said: “Between April 2015 and July 2019, the number of new registered ultra-low emission vehicles has increased four-fold, with more than 228,000 now on UK roads.

“Last year, battery vehicles more than doubled and we’re doubling our efforts to make owning an electric vehicle the new normal.”

Company-owned vehicles can be registered to a firm’s location, so a change of address can affect the DfT figures at a local level.

It has been pointed out that there aren’t many recharging points in the borough, but when they do increase on the Greater Manchester Electrical Vehicle network, the costs of using them will climb as it will be unviable to run them on the current £20 subscription fee alone.