UK announces £5,000 subsidy for electric car buyers from 2011

An electric car

Government advisors have said the UK should aim to have 11 million electric cars on the road by 2030

Electric cars are no longer just a 'pipe dream' claims transport minister as he announces £60 million in funds for charging points and grants for people buying new vehicles

Anyone buying an electric car in the UK from this January will be eligible for a £5,000 grant in a move the government hopes will kick-start the industry.

A total of £43 million is being made available with buyers offered a 25 per cent discount on the price of nine eligible cars, up to a maximum of £5,000. The first eligible cars will be; Mitsubishi iMiEV; smart fortwo electric drive; Peugeot iON; Citroen CZero; Nissan Leaf; Tata Vista EV; Toyota Prius Plug-in; Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt.

The government's climate watchdog has said the UK needs to aim to have 11 million electric cars on the road by 2030 if it wants to meet its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

There were fears the coalition government would scrap plans for the subsidy altogether as it looked to cut departmental spending. Instead, while the overall funding has been cut by 80 per cent the department of transport confirmed the incentive will come in force in the New Year.

In addition, funds of around £20 million have been given to support the installation of local charging points in the Midlands, Greater Manchester, East of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland along with existing ones in London, Milton Keynes and the North-East. It is hoped a total of 4,000 charging points will be created over the next 18 months.

Trials of electric cars in the UK earlier this year showed they could 'fit with existing driving habits'. Results showed the majority of journeys were less than five miles, average daily mileage was 23 miles and vehicles were parked for 97 per cent of the time, typically overnight, allowing plenty of time for battery charging.

'A few years ago, ultra-low emission cars with mass market appeal appeared just a pipe dream. Now they are a reality and we can have all the convenience of the car without all the carbon that normally goes with it,' said transport secretary Philip Hammond.

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