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Government announces more incentives for 'plugged-in' driving

Peta Hodge
25th February 2010
The Government has today announced more incentives to jump-start the take-up of electric vehicles, including £5 million of funding to introduce 2,430 charging points for electric vehicles in Milton Keynes and car grants.
The Milton Keynes investment is part of a £30 million fund from the new Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) for a network of electric vehicle hubs, the first three of which – Milton Keynes, London and the North East – were announced today and where 11,000 vehicle recharging points will be installed.

The idea is that the experience of these first three hubs – or ‘Plugged-In Places’ as they have been named – will inform the future development of a national charging infrastructure.

The Government is also looking at how to join the Plugged-In Places up with charging infrastructure along strategic corridors, and how to support multi-modal journeys to facilitate the wider use of electric vehicles.

Today’s announcement was welcomed by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) which, through its ‘Joined-Cities Plan’ is working with a number of cities to help develop a user-friendly environment for plug-in vehicles.

The ETI’s ceo, Dr David Clarke commented: "The funding from OLEV’s Plugged‑in‑Places scheme will enable a step‑change in infrastructure deployment in three of these locations – London, Milton Keynes and the North East.”

Plug-In Car Grants open to both private and business fleet buyers
Alongside the Plugged-In Places initiative, the Government has also announced that it will provide a so-called 'Plug-In Car Grants' worth 25 per cent of the cost of ultra-low-carbon car.

The grants, which will be capped at £5,000, will be open to both private and business fleet buyers and will be distributed directly to the consumer at the point of purchase, but will only be payable for vehicles that have met certain performance criteria to ensure safety, range, and ultra-tailpipe-low emissions.

The grants will be available from January 2011, by which time more eligible vehicles are expected to be available. 

One of the new cars hitting the road next year will be the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle – which goes on sale in the UK in March 2011 – and which Nissan says will meet all the criteria necessary to receive the incentive, namely a minimum range of 70 miles (the Leaf claims to do around 100 miles on a full charge), a maximum speed of 60 mph (Nissan says the Leaf can achieve around 90 mph) and a minimum three year warranty.

Paul Willcox, managing director at Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd, said: “We welcome the announcement that the Government is to incentivise sales of electric vehicles. 

“These incentives will bring electric vehicle ownership within reach of UK motorists and make cars like the Nissan Leaf a financially viable alternative to conventional petrol and diesel-powered cars.”

Mitsubishi Motors also welcomed today’s announcement. “We are thrilled with this news, particularly as it coincides with the opening of the Mitsubishi Electric Vehicle Centre in Central London,” said UK’s managing director, Lance Bradley.

He added: “In addition, we are delighted with the successful Plugged-In Places outcome, which will lead the way in infrastructure development, and we are a confirmed consortium partner with London.”

Announcing the initiatives today, 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 Plugged-in Places like Milton Keynes, we will have infrastructure in place to support this growing market.”

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 second-wave funding.

Related news:
Green car and road transport news
Green grants & funding news

Related links:

Government announces more incentives for 'plugged-in' driving
The Nissan Leaf electric vehicle will meet all the criteria of the new Plug-In Car Grants
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