NICE Car Company, one of London’s two electric-vehicle distributors, entered administration yesterday. That’s akin to filing for bankruptcy, a term that does not apply to companies in Britain. Going Green, which distributes the G-Wiz, a popular electric two-seater, is also struggling as sales have slowed to fewer than one car per week, Reuters reports. Estimates from Clean Green Cars show UK electric vehicle sales, usually concentrated in London, sank to just 156 cars between January to October, a drop of more than 58 percent over the same period last year.
To be sure, the EV industry is not alone in losing business. But while general business activity in London has decreased as a result of the global economic downturn, relatively small electric-vehicle distributors have faced a perfect storm of lost or uncertain incentives, increasing likelihood of mass-market (read: more affordable) competition and growing public concern about the safety of cars so wee they’re technically quadricycles.
Sales faltered earlier this year amid talk of extending a waiver on the city’s congestion tax — from which EVs were already exempt — to the most fuel-efficient diesel and gas-powered cars (the proposal did not pass). Londoners lost another incentive to go electric in June when the city decided to start charging the previously-exempt vehicles for parking.
“Perhaps the market for quirky electric vehicles like the Mega City and G-Wiz have had their day,” Richard Bremner, editor of London-based Clean Green Cars told the Telegraph. “Buyers could be holding off for cars from mainstream manufacturers, although they may still have years to wait before mass production is a reality.”