Take-up of electric vehicles slows in Hartlepool after Government cuts subsidies
Enthusiasm for electric cars has dampened in Hartlepool following government cuts to subsidies.
Discounts on fully and partially electric cars from the Department for Transport were cut from £4,500 to £3,500 last year.
The Renewable Energy Association, which lobbies on behalf of renewable energy companies, says lower cash incentives for green cars has taken its toll, mostly among plug-in hybrid vehicles.
In March, there were only 13 new electric vehicles registered in the area, compared to the same month last year.
The latest Department for Transport statistics show the number of registered electric or plug-in hybrid cars, vans and micro-cars, called quadricycles, in Hartlepool.
At the beginning of 2018, there were 64 electric vehicles.
By March this year, there were 77.
That's a 20% increase from March last year, lower than the 45% rise registered between 2017 and 2018.
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Across the UK, the number of plug-in electric cars rose by 38% over the last year, the smallest increase since the Government started offering subsidies for purchasing green vehicles in 2011, and much lower than the 150% increase in 2015.
Stuart Pocock, chief operating officer at the Renewable Energy Association, said: "The removal of the plug-in car grant has unsurprisingly had a negative impact on the sale of electric vehicles.
"However, the majority of the decrease can be attributed to the decrease in the sale of hybrid vehicles.
"The overall growth slowdown of electric vehicles could signal a move away from petrol and diesel hybrids towards the greater uptake of battery electric vehicles.
"If we are to improve air quality and reach net zero emissions by 2050 we need to speed up the move towards battery electric vehicles and a rise in the sale of these signals a step in the right direction."
One advantage electric car users have over other vehicles is that they do not have to pay road tax, as they do not release any emissions.
Plug-in vehicles still make up a tiny percentage of the cars on the road in Hartlepool. Compared with 77 electric cars on our roads, there are 45,000 vehicles in total.