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UK government to offer £5,000 subsidies to electric car buyers

25 February 2010

Pioneering motorists will receive up to GBP5,000 to buy an ultra-low carbon car, and the roll-out of supporting infrastructure will begin in selected regions, the government announced today (Thursday, February 25).

The Plug-in Car Grant will be distributed directly to the consumer at the point of purchase and will be available across the UK from January 2011, by which time a range of eligible vehicles is expected to be available.

The Electric Car Corporation (ECC) welcomes the move. Chief executive David Martell comments: “This is a positive commitment the government has made towards stimulating the electric car market.  It is undoubtedly the only way UK motorists will be persuaded to change their motoring habits and give up their petrol cars.”

ECC manufactures the Citroen C1 ‘evie' (pictured), the only four seater production ‘all electric’ car currently available to buy in the UK.

Also included in the government’s plans is the roll-out of a £30m fund for a network of electric vehicle hubs – called Plugged-In Places – which will see charging infrastructure appearing in car parks, major supermarkets, leisure and retail centres, as well as on the street.  The first Plugged-In Places were today named today as London, Milton Keynes and the North East; and between them they will be installing over 11,000 vehicle recharging points during the next three years. 

The initiatives are part of a £450 million government strategy to support the creation of a flourishing early market for ultra-low carbon vehicles. The programme will help to meet the UK’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions from transport; as well as creating new business opportunities for UK-based companies in the automotive and charging infrastructure sectors.
Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis said:

"Decarbonising transport isn't an aspiration - it's a reality. By this time next year, cutting edge motorists will be on the roads with these next generation cars they've purchased because of our help. And thanks to the Plugged-In Places we will have in place infrastructure to support this growing early market.

"Transport has a huge part to play in helping the UK meet its stringent emission reduction targets and today's announcement is another step on the road to putting the UK at the global forefront of ultra-low carbon vehicle development, manufacture and use.” Business minister Pat McFadden said:

"Low Carbon vehicles are an important part of the broader shift to a low carbon economy.
"We have already committed £450m to delivering our ambitious vision of supporting suppliers of low carbon technology, encouraging demand from consumers and enabling lead UK cities and regions to switch on charging infrastructure.

"The government is focusing on this sector as a priority and we are committed to helping British businesses take advantage of the growth potential and job opportunities this presents."

The Plug-in Car Grant will significantly reduce prices by providing 25 per cent towards the cost of a new car, capped at £5,000, and will be open to both private and business fleet buyers.
To be eligible for the scheme, cars will have to pass performance criteria to ensure safety, range, and ultra-low tailpipe emissions.

The Plugged-In Places will provide the charge points to support these vehicles – demonstrating how electric vehicle charging works in practice in a range of different settings – urban, suburban and regional – as well as testing innovative technologies such as rapid charging, inductive charging and battery swap. 

A second competition for Plugged-in Places funding is to follow later in the year, with consortia from the West Midlands, Cornwall, Sheffield, the Lake District, Greater Manchester and Northern Ireland having already confirmed their intention to bid for the next wave of funding.

These measures – to be delivered by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) – will move the UK further towards its ambitious carbon reduction targets. They will also support the UK automotive, charging infrastructure and other related supply chain industries in realising the economic opportunities that a shift to low carbon represents.

OLEV will also lead work to join up the Plugged-In Places, working closely with partners including the Energy Technologies Institute and the Technology Strategy Board to ensure a fully interoperable network is established in the UK. OLEV will be assessing the feasibility of charging along strategic corridors with the Highways Agency and motorway service area operators; and of charging infrastructure at railway station parking facilities with the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) and Network Rail.

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