Drivers could receive up to £5,000 towards the cost of an electric car from 2011, the government has announced.
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Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon said cash incentives of between £2,000 and £5,000 would help to make electric cars ‘a real option for motorists’.
It is thought the new initiative – part of the government’s low-carbon transport plan – will be brought in to coincide with an expected ‘mass introduction’ of electric and plug-in .
Electric car incentives
Under the plans, consumers would receive financial help from the government to allow them the widest choice of cars possible. The Department for Transport is beginning discussions with the motor industry and financiers to determine how best to deliver this assistance.
To qualify for funding, electric cars would need to meet modern safety standards and have a range and top speed sufficient to give mass-market appeal.
Mr Hoon said: ‘Cutting road transport CO2 emissions is a key element to tackling climate change. Less than 0.1% of the UK’s 26 million cars are electric, so there is a huge untapped potential to reduce emissions.
‘The scale of incentives we’re announcing today will mean that an electric car is a real option for motorists as well as helping to make the UK a world leader in low-carbon transport.’
But AA president Edmund King was more cautious. He said: ‘An electric car strategy has the potential to spark a personal transport revolution in UK cities. However, if poorly co-ordinated and implemented, such a strategy could short-circuit itself. For electric vehicles to revolutionise our cities we need infrastructure, incentives, clean electricity and affordable, practical vehicles.’
He added: ‘This announcement is one small step for electric vehicles but we need one massive leap to change the way we travel.’
To get the latest on battery-powered vehicles, check out the Which? guide to electric cars.
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