The future of electric cars continue to dominate both mainstream and specialist press but for reasons you might not expect.
The government's revised Plug-In Car Grant scheme (first unveiled last year) revealed the nine 2011 EVs that would qualify for a £5,000 subsidy (see list below). Up to 8,600 EV buyers can benefit from the subsidy. Recent figures however reveal that only 534 electric vehicles have been bought using the grant.
The future isn't looking too rosy either. A recent study by Deloitte Consultancy suggests that EV uptake could account for as little as 2-5% of the key US car market by 2020. This is hardly the brave new world envisaged by EV enthusiasts in the press and governments.
This is could be good news however for those of us wishing to take up the Plug-In Car Grant scheme now. With such a slow up-take you would be guaranteed a subsidy. And because of the low costs to the taxpayer to date there's every chance that the scheme will be renewed next year.
In the long term though it's essential that sales improve to bring down EV prices. EVs are currently a third more expensive than their petrol or diesel-powered equivalents.
These high prices are down to the costs involved in bringing together the new technologies involved in the production of EVs. Particularly costly is the battery that provides the power. To bring down prices EVs need to start selling in much larger quantities.
Batteries need to be standardised across the car industry. The Deloitte Consultancy also predicts that the cost of creating a battery will reduce by 40% over the course of the next four years.
So it's still early days but with more and more EVs coming to market over the next two years, the hope is that consumers will be more tempted to make the switch from combustion to electrical power.
And while the government has already listed the nine EVs currently eligible for grants, it has stated other models could be added if the scheme is continued.
What follows is the launch timeline of the latest EVs. These cars all qualify for the subsidy and the price quoted here includes the £5,000 government subsidy.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV, £23,990
Peugeot iOn, £415 plus VAT per month for four years/40,000 miles
Nissan Leaf, £25,990
Citroen C-Zero, £415 plus VAT per month for four years/40,000 miles
Vauxhall Ampera, £28,995
Chevrolet Volt , Est. £30,000
Tata Indica Vista EV, Price £tbc
Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, Price £tbc
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Price £tbc