In a nutshell: As much of the world pushes for all vehicles to be of the electric variety, the UK could soon give drivers an incentive to switch. Sources say the country’s government is considering giving car owners up to £6,000 (around $7,609) for replacing their combustion engine cars with electric versions.
Like so many industries, car sales have been decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s especially bad in the UK, where just 4,321 cars were sold during April, down from the 161,064 units shifted during the same period last year. Most of the vehicles (71.5 percent) sold in April were fleet orders, with private buyers making up just 20 percent of sales.
In an attempt to give the car industry, electric vehicle manufacturers, and overall economy a boost, prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a new scrappage scheme on July 6, reports The Telegraph.
Several large carmakers were forced to temporarily shut down their plants at the peak of the pandemic. With job uncertainty and the prospect of the worst recession since the great depression, buying a new car isn’t a priority for many people, but the government’s plan could give the industry a much-needed shot in the arm.
Inside Nissan's Sunderland plant (carmagazine.co.uk)
Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, and mini-maker BMW all manufacture electric vehicles in the UK. Nissan, which makes the electric Leaf vehicle, employs 6,000 people at its plant in Sunderland, making it one of north east England’s most vital employers. It also supports 27,000 UK automotive supply chain jobs, three-quarters of which are in the region.
The UK is one of several countries aiming to ban the sale of combustion vehicles—by 2035, in its case. The scrappage scheme could go some way toward achieving that goal while also stimulating new car sales, which are down 90 percent since the lockdown.
Image credit: Dani Berszt