As of last month (January), private and business buyers of EVs will be eligible for up to 25% off the cost of a plug-in car, limited to £5,000. However, the Government intends to review the £43m fund in 12 months time, spelling long-term uncertainty for firms looking to invest now.
A poll by Lex Autolease - the UK's largest provider of company vehicles - reveals that almost half of financial directors (47%) would not pursue their company's interest in electric vehicles, or plug-in hybrids, if the subsidy was removed.
Chris Chandler, principle consultant at Lex Autolease, says: "We've published the actual cost of ownership figures in a new guide, which clearly shows that the subsidy is vital to ensuring these vehicles are cost competitive. Without it, new EVs such as the Nissan Leaf can't compete with the likes of a diesel Golf or even the Toyota Prius on cost.
"Businesses are sending out a clear signal that their interest in electric vehicles could be seriously diminished without the subsidy. Particularly if future changes mean the numbers no longer stack up."
In contrast, business drivers say that one-off, up-front incentives are not a major turn on. Only 2% would be enticed by a discount or subsidy, whereas almost half (43%) said that low or zero company car tax would make them want to choose a plug-in hybrid or fully electric vehicle.
watch this space