The £400 million drive to persuade motorists to buy electric cars is proving a costly failure, according to the latest Whitehall figures.
Only 215 cars were bought under the scheme, which offers subsidies of up to £5,000 each, over the last three months.
Of these it is understood that around three quarters were bought by businesses, meaning that just over 50 were acquired by private motorists.
Since the launch of the scheme at the start of the year a total of 680 electric cars have been bought, bringing the total to 2,500.
The latest figures were released by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, based at the Department for Transport.
Both the current and previous Governments saw electric cars as a vital tool in cutting the country’s carbon emissions
The Coalition has allocated £400 million for the project covering not only consumer car subsidies and a network of charging points.“The figures show the mountain we have to climb if the national car fleet of 28 million vehicles is to turn truly green, said Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation.
“Even with the grants, electric cars are still much more expensive than similar-sized petrol and diesel models.
““Despite the lower fuel costs associated with electric cars, the high purchase price means it will take owners several years to reap the financial benefits of not choosing fossil-fuel powered vehicles. “
In the short term motorists will have to think long and hard about whether electric cars give better value for money than the best conventional and hybrid models.