The current pandemic could have severely set back the move towards electric vehicles, according to PRA chairman Brian Madderson.

“Albeit the market was very small, we’ve been wondering, will the current situation have set it back still further?” he said.

Madderson believes there are two elements which could contribute to slowing sales of electric vehicles: “One is that the price of petrol is the lowest it’s been for five years in the UK, so people are getting used to that - it’s below a pound a litre in some of the supermarkets," he said.

“Secondly, if so many people are furloughed and getting only 80% of their wage, or they have been made redundant, there’s going to be some empty consumer pockets.

“And I guess people will naturally hang on to existing vehicles longer than they may otherwise have done. Even though there is the lease option available, it is an expensive option.

“We think that if the economy is taking a real hit, as some people suggest, then the whole EV movement could be delayed by two years - maybe even three years.”

Madderson realises the green lobby will be looking at the air pollution stats, particularly in London, and saying how wonderful the effects of less traffic on the road during the pandemic have been.

“That’s all great, but if the consumer just does not have the money, they’re not going to be able to spend £20-£40k on the latest electric cars. They’ll be keeping their beloved old petrol and diesel car for longer, especially as the fuel costs are way, way down.

“Some of the OEMs are talking about a scrappage scheme. Frankly I think the government has got far more worries about the overall cost of handling Covid-19 than about bringing in a scrappage scheme, so I don’t see that coming at all.

“We believe the pandemic is going to severely push back the EV evolution.”

Madderson was speaking at a webinar on, discussing the consequences of the current pandemic.