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Alphabet joins calls for consistent tax incentive structure for electric vehicles

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Leasing company Alphabet has joined calls from the SMMT to be consistent in electric vehicle taxation policies, and avoid penalising drivers moving to greener cars.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) commisioned a poll from YouGov, which found confusing incentives and charging facilities to be the biggest perceived barriers to electric vehicle adoption.

David Bushnell, product manager mobility at Alphabet, said: “Incentivising alternative, greener forms of travel needs to be a major Government priority and something we’d like to see more clarity on from the Chancellor in the Budget next week.

“We’ve heard talk from the Government about the urgent need to clean up the air in a number of UK cities and the London mayor has looked to enforce stricter measures to get high-polluting vehicles off the city’s roads with his £10 ‘toxicity charge’ on the most polluting vehicles (mainly diesel and petrol registered before 2006), but the move towards greener travel needs positive incentives for company car drivers that switch to electric vehicles.

“The problem we have is that EVs and ULEVs risk being thwarted by inconsistent Government tax policy that penalise instead of rewarding motorists moving to alternative, greener vehicles, as well as an ongoing lag in the development of our charging infrastructure together with a published Advisory Fuel Rate that recognises Electricity as a fuel for transport. A recent YouGov survey showed that the consumer appetite is there for EVs but concerns about access to charging and the higher cost of these vehicles are still huge barriers to overcome if we are going to change behaviour.

He concluded: “We identified this in our predictions for 2017, following the Autumn Statement: the new tax changes proposed towards the end of last year could delay the wider adoption of ULEVs. The Government needs to use taxation as a means of incentivising EVs and ULEVs rather than simply focusing their policy of cleaning up UK air quality through punitive measures and maximising company car tax revenues. The real world implications of these tax changes will see older, less safe and more polluting vehicles on our roads.”

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