EVA England report calls to broaden EV access

A new policy report by EVA England shows how to get more people into electric vehicles (EVs), especially those on lower incomes.

Sales of electric vehicles continue to rise, and the second-hand car market is beginning to grow, allowing even more people to access EVs.

But many drivers won’t have access to the lower running costs and wider benefits of EVs for many years, which presents a fairness and accessibility issue that could cause resentment and a feeling of ‘them and us’, EVA England said.

The group also commented that this would be “exacerbated in coming years”, with the greater levels of new cars sold being electric, “largely by fleets or wealthier consumers”.

In order to mitigate the concerns, EVA England has made a number of suggestions in the report, including three practical solutions:

1. Mandating medium and large companies to offer EV salary sacrifice schemes to their employees

The government should mandate that all medium and large companies must offer an EV salary sacrifice scheme for their employees.

Implementing this policy would have the dual advantage of boosting the number of people driving clean cars and feeding the second hand car market over time, it said.

2. Introduce an EV social leasing programme for lower income households

The Government should target subsidies for electric vehicles by introducing a subsidised EV leasing programme for lower income households.

Modelled on France’s new social leasing scheme, the government should contract with UK based manufacturers to produce a certain number of ‘no frills’ electric cars per year, which will be guaranteed for purchase by the state-backed scheme.

Households below a certain income would then be eligible for a discounted lease.

3. Zero-interest Clean Car Loans

Scotland and France have set a precedent for state provision of interest free loans for the purchase of electric vehicles. The government should make a limited number of zero interest loans available to average income and below households who live in or near clean air zones.

Loans would be available to purchase new or used electric cars, and would be paid back without interest over a 5 year period.

Speaking about the report, EVA England CEO James Court, said: “We need to make sure everyone across society can access the benefits of Electric Vehicles.

“EVs are cheaper to run, quieter, and have obvious benefits to the local air quality. We are in danger of creating a chasm of haves and have nots where that needn’t be the case.”

You can view the EVA England ‘Powering up’ report here: https://www.evaengland.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/EVAE-Policy-Paper-Powering-Up.pdf

Image from Shutterstock

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