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End of government support could spell doom for electric vehicles

The end of UK government subsidies may mean that running an electric car is more expensive than running a petrol one.

Support from the Department for Transport, which covered installation and maintenance of chargers, ended in April, meaning councils have had to cover costs by tendering out contracts which has led to price increases.

There are now growing concerns that any market growth will be stemmed just as it begins to take off.

In the UK, nearly 2,000 electric cars were sold in the first five months of this year, more than double the sales for the same period in 2013, mainly due to the perception that the running costs for electric cars would be cheaper.

However, that has recently started to change. Charge Master, one of the biggest providers of public power points, now charges £7.50 for a half-hour rapid charge compared to the free service that was previously available.

Andrew Fenwick-Green, marketing secretary of the Electric Vehicle Drivers Association said, "A gallon of diesel for most eco-diesels will cost you £6.30 and get you around 60 miles.

"A 30-minute rapid charge in my Nissan Leaf would give you a range of 64 miles. So we're paying an extra £1.20 more to get the same mileage. It's madness... if the rapid chargers go up to £7.50 we're going to kill the market at a stroke."

Charge Master chief executive David Martell thinks the government is making a mistake "We need a few more years' support from the government to allow proper businesses models to arrive for charging."