BYLINE: NICHOLAS HANSENKAMP/AFP/Getty ImagesTougher fines are expected to follow on from a new UK government plan to make electric vehicles illegal to drive on public roads in the country, the BBC reported on Tuesday.
The new move comes amid mounting concern over the number of deaths caused by electric cars in the UK, which has more than 20,000 registered owners.
More than 500 people have been killed in crashes with electric vehicles in the past two years.
The government is also considering tougher penalties for people who illegally park their vehicles on roads.
The decision is likely to face fierce opposition from the motoring industry, which said that the new rules will put consumers in a bind.
“Electric vehicles have been around for decades, but their popularity has fallen significantly,” said Chris Jones, an industry analyst at BAE Systems.
“It’s a real blow to the industry.
The new measures are likely to make it harder for people to buy a new model.”
Electric vehicle sales in the United Kingdom are growing rapidly, driven by a growing middle class, which is increasingly concerned about pollution and climate change.
The British government wants to bring electric vehicles to the same legal status as diesel cars, which can carry up to 50,000 pounds ($66,000) in fines if they are not registered, or if they exceed a certain number of miles on a range.
But the move has sparked opposition from some of Britain’s largest motor manufacturers.GM, which manufactures the Chevrolet Volt and GMC Sierra electric vehicles, is among those that has said it will not offer a plug-in hybrid vehicle.
“We believe that this measure will not achieve its aims of encouraging the use of electric vehicles and we will not support the government’s plans to enforce the rules in the short-term,” the automaker said in a statement on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
The Nissan Motor Co. also said it was not planning to offer an electric vehicle in the near future, and that it was considering its options.
The move is likely not to have an immediate impact on sales of electric cars.
The number of registered electric vehicles increased to more than 22,000 last year, according a government report released in March.
The number of electric buses also rose by nearly two-thirds, to more then 3,500.
However, the government is expected to unveil its proposed changes on Wednesday, which would apply to all electric vehicles on British roads from July 1, 2020.