Chris Grayling under fire as promise to boost electric cars backfires

Less than 2% of vehicles used by transport department are electric, despite minister’s vow

Chris Grayling has been accused of failing to back up his positive words on electric cars with action after it emerged they account for less than 2% of his department’s car fleet.

The UK transport secretary said the government would “lead consumer uptake” of the cars when he laid out his plan for tackling air pollution with a switch to battery-powered vehicles.

However, he has come under fire for subsequently scrapping grants for plug-in cars, in a move condemned by vehicle manufacturers as “astounding”. Now official figures have revealed that only 29 of the 1,830 vehicles run by Department for Transport and its agencies are electric.

Labour said it was “laughable” that two months ago Grayling had been “bragging” about the DfT’s plans to take on more electric vehicles.

“The Tories’ policies show how little they care about the environment and dealing with air pollution. Chris Grayling’s hypocrisy and failure to get his own department to order more low-emission vehicles is further proof of that,” said Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Driver Vehicle and Standards Agency, which carries out driving tests, are the worst performers. Neither has a single electric model among their hundreds of cars.

So far this year, the DfT has bought 10 electric vehicles, including some of Jaguar’s £64,450 well-reviewed I-PACE models. Last year, it bought three. Other popular models in the UK include the Tesla Model S, which sells from £53,500, and the smaller Nissan Leaf, which starts at £21,990.

The government has set itself a target of making a quarter of its car fleet electric within four years, and 100% by 2030. About 2% of new car sales in the UK are of electric models, either fully electric or plug-in hybrids.

Read more: The Guardian

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