UP MP's asy electric car money benefiting 'handful of motorists'
A network of more than 1,600 public charging points has been set up
Government spending of £11m to encourage people to drive electric cars has benefited only a "handful of motorists", MPs have said.
They also warned the scheme was being used to subsidise second cars for more affluent households.
In a report, the Transport Select Committee questioned whether this represented a good use of public money.
The government offers grants of up to £5,000 towards the cost of plug-in cars in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.
And a network of more than 1,600 public charging points has been set up across the country to encourage drivers to switch.
Chair of the cross-party committee, Louise Ellman MP said: "The government must do more to show that its plug-in vehicle strategy is a good use of public money.
"Carbon emissions from transport must be reduced if the UK is to meet its climate change targets, but public money must be targeted on effective policies.
"So far, Department for Transport expenditure on plug-in cars - some £11m - has benefited just a handful of motorists.
"We were warned of the risk that the government is subsidising second cars for affluent households; currently plug-in cars are mostly being purchased as second cars for town driving."
The committee said it was unclear whether the government scheme, which was part of the coalition agreement, actually encouraged demand for plug-in cars.
The government had said it expects there to be tens of thousands of these cars on Britain's roads by 2015, with the number reaching six figures by 2020.
But the committee found that following the introduction of the grants in January 2011 only 1,052 eligible cars had been registered - up from 111 in 2010.
Ms Ellman said: "Ministers should not sit back and hope that the Government's policy on plug-in cars will reduce transport carbon emissions.
"Far more work is required to ensure that this programme is a good use of public funds."
In future, the government should set targets for the number of electric cars they expect to see on the roads and establish a national registry of vehicle charge points, the committee said.