Influential advisors have urged the Government to set more ambitious targets for the number of electric cars on the road, and to protect funds designed to encourage their introduction.
However, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) also called on the Government to increase the first-year VED on the most-polluting vehicles and to increase fuel duty if the price of oil falls encouraging consumers to buy the most fuel-efficient cars.
The report suggests that given the appropriate support, it would be possible to have 240,000 electric cars on the road by 2015 and 1.7 million by 2020.
It said: 'We recommend that the Government should adopt ambitious targets for the deployment of electric cars in the period to 2020. It should commit to funding both towards the purchase of electric cars (to offset a transitional cost premium) and investment in a national battery charging network.'
It called the previously announced grant of up to 5000 to help buy an electric or plug-in hybrid car an 'appropriate first step'.
The CCC also said that more unpopular policies would be required from the Government.
'Further increasing VED differentiation and increasing the level of fuel duty to offset oil price reductions to provide signals for consumers and vehicle manufacturers should be seriously considered.'
What the Governments says...
Business secretary Vince Cable said that the 5000 incentive for electric cars has not yet been finalised. It's 'under active consideration', said Cable, but he couldn't say when a final decision will be made.
He said: 'Price signals of support to consumers, such as VED differentiation should continue and extend. The Government will continue to support an electric charging infrastructure.'