Electric vehicles support subsidies benefit privileged households.
Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast (Dr Dylan Furszyfer and Dr Aoife Foley) and Trinity College Dublin (Dr Brian Caulfield and Agnieszka Stefaniec) published an article on the Journal of Energy showing that electric vehicles (EVs) remain as luxurious goods and the installation of subsidised recharge points in houses are more likely to be seen in wealthy neighbourhoods. Their results also show that areas with higher numbers of EV charging points also have higher levels of car ownership, indicating that the EV may be the second or third car within the household.
Their evidence suggests that the transition towards a low-carbon and EVs future is leaving low-income and other vulnerable groups behind. To avoid this, the authors provide alternative policies with a more beneficial impact on EV adoption in tandem with reducing social inequity. These policies include free-interest free loans for a new EV purchase – available in Scotland – and allowing for a longer repayment period for buyers.
The authors conclude that only by transforming the way we travel we can reduce transport inequalities. To do this, the authors suggest increasing the support for sustainable and inclusive mobility strategies, such as shifting to walking, cycling and affordable public transport, reducing the demand for travel through compact development and enhancing rural accessibility.