Image credit: Hereschell Hershey on Flickr
London EV Retailer Rejects Government Grant Program
GoinGreen, the London company selling the funky G-Wiz (pictured above in a fetching leopard skin pattern), has long been a pioneer of electric vehicle retailing in the UK capital - we've even seen the G-Wiz being used in a last ditch attempt to save Lehmann Brothers! But GoinGreen and the G-Wiz (or REVA) are no strangers to attracting controversy - most notably from Jeremy Clarkson who claims the G-Wiz is both unsafe and impractical. But you'd have thought that an electric vehicle retailer would be delighted at news that the UK government is putting its substantial weight behind electric vehicles. Not so say the folks at GoinGreen who argue that the devil, as usual, is in the detail.
Following the Government’s announcement of the 16 April 2009 regarding grants of up to £5,000 towards the purchase of electric cars, GoinGreen is disheartened to learn that such grants will not be available until 2011. Furthermore, the proposed grant scheme will not include the UK’s best selling electric vehicle, the REVA G-Wiz. GoinGreen pioneered the UK EV market with the introduction of the REVA G-Wiz to London in 2004 and there are now nearly 1,000 G-Wiz on the roads.
GoinGreen believes that if the Government truly wants to promote emissions-free driving, then encouraging continuing adoption of electric vehicles by the public, as new models continue to come to market, cannot be put on hold.
Although the actual announcement did not clarify the definition of the vehicles to be included, a Department for Transport representative subsequently confirmed that most electric vehicles currently on the market today would be excluded. The excluded vehicle types include quadricycles, such as the G-Wiz, and delivery trucks, such as those produced in the UK by Modec and Smith Electric Vehicles.
Head on over to their website for GoinGreen's full response to the Government electric car grants. Besides the company's objections that their vehicle may not qualify for the grants, GoinGreen also expressed concern that the grants do not start until 2011, which could cause many would-be purchasers to hold off until they can be sure of government assistance - and discouraging purchases is never a good thing for a fledgling industry in a recession.
Is the UK Government's qualification of what should get funding and when a sensible move to ensure real, viable, long-range electric cars? Or is it a move to stall the market until the established big boys can catch up with the start ups? Feel free to share your thoughts below.