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2012-01-23 09:54

LOSING ITS SPARK: Electric vehicles sales are slumping due to the high cost of battery vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf.

LONDON, England - Sales of electric cars have slumped so badly that there are now more charging points than vehicles on the road.

Just 2149 electric cars have been sold since 2006, despite a UK government scheme in 2011 offering customers up to £5000 (close to R62 000) towards the cost of a vehicle.

The UK Department for Transport says that around 2500 charging points have been installed, although their precise location is not known, the Daily Mail reports.

The government grant has boosted sales, from 138 in 2010 to 11 082 in 2011, but only R48.2 million of the R3.7 billion set aside has been paid out.

The high cost of electric cars has put many off and are also only suitable for short journeys, with a maximum range of around 160km on a full charge.


Mark Goodier, who owns a Nissan Leaf, said: "Nissan needs to work on range. If you travel more than 160km, this is not for you.

"You have to think about usage and plan what you are going to do. You can't wake up and decide to drive to Scotland," he said.

A spokesman for Nissan said: 'The Leaf is meeting its business plans but it's a car that's going to take a while to be accepted in the market.'

The UK government is spending R370 million on publicly-funded charging points and those in private companies. These charging points are capable of recharging a vehicle between six and eight hours, while some points can provide 80% charge in half an hour.

Drivers can pay an annual fee to use the points, with authorities charging a membership fee for the year.

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