The government has confirmed that buyers of electric cars will get a £5,000 subsidy from January 2011, as part of an effort to spur the growth of ‘ultra-low carbon’ vehicles.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced today that the scheme, promised by the previous government before the election, will still go ahead and that £43 million has been allocated to it.
Private or fleet buyers will get a grant of up to 25% of the cost of a car, capped at £5,000. But the prices of electric cars currently on sale mean that almost all buyers will get the full amount. This means that a total of 8,600 grants will be available until March 2012.
However, the Department for Transport (DfT) has indicated that the scheme will continue past that date, and may carry on for subsequent years. Whether this happens will be decided at a spending review in January.
Electric car safety
Any car eligible for subsidy will have to meet safety and performance criteria, which may mean that some of the smallest quadricycle-based electric vehicles currently on sale won’t qualify.
It’s possible that the rules may mean the only cars eligible at the start of the scheme will be the £38,699 Mitsubishi i-MiEV city car or the £87,000 Tesla Roadster sports car.
In a statement, the DfT said that the decision to continue with the grant scheme in the face of pressure to make cuts was made to encourage investment into the UK as a place to build ultra-low carbon vehicles.
Philip Hammond added: “The coalition Government is absolutely committed to low carbon growth, tackling climate change and making our energy supply more secure. We are sending a clear signal that Britain is open for business and that we are committed to greening our economy. This will ensure that the UK is a world leader in low emission vehicles.”
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