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‘Right time’ to end electric vehicle grants, says Pod Point CEO Erik Fairbairn

·2-min read
SMMT boss Mike Hawes says a lack of infrastructure is holding back sales  (PA Wire)
SMMT boss Mike Hawes says a lack of infrastructure is holding back sales (PA Wire)

The boss of car charging business Pod Point says the government is right to wind down grants for electric vehicles, despite calls for continued subsidies from others in the sector.

Erik Fairbairn said it was “exactly the right time” for the state to cut grants as new figures showed a quarter of vehicles bought at the end of last year were battery powered.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said 2021 was the most successful year in history for electric vehicles, with plug-ins representing 18.5% all new cars bought last year. Momentum is accelerating, with battery powered vehicles accounting for 25.5% of the market by December.

“What subsidies are for is to encourage activity before it’s commercially viable,” Fairbairn told the Standard. “I think electric vehicles stand up on their own two feet now.”

Fairbairn’s views are in contrast to SMMT boss Mike Hawes who has called for the government to maintain subsidies. A grant towards EV purchases was reduced from £2,500 to £1,500 last month and a scheme offering up to £350 towards installing home charging infrastructure is due to be closed in April.

Hawes said “cost and charging infrastructure” was the “biggest obstacle” to electric vehicle adoption and called for the government to roll back the changes.

Fairbairn said there was little evidence to suggest charging was holding back sales and rejected the approach of going “cap in hand” to the government. He said it was up to the private sector to invest in charging.

“It’s going to be, for the next 10 years or maybe even 15 years, a constant battle between electric vehicle growth and charging point growth,” Fairbairn said.

Pod Point, which listed in London in November, today said it was continuing to enjoy “strong trading” and said full-year results were on track with forecasts. The company works with businesses like Tesco and Barratt Homes to install charging infrastructure in public places and private properties.

Shares improved 8.7p, or 3.5%, to 255.5p.

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