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Electric car funding gains £500m Government boost

Date: 07 May 2014   |   Author: Tristan Young

Fleets look set to benefit from the Government's decision to carry on subsiding the electric car market, this time with an investment of £500 million between 2015 and 2020.

Under the plans, taxpayers will continue to fund ultra low-emission vehicles to the tune of £5000 each, up to a total of £200m (see 'Where some of the funding will go', below). Around £32 million of the fund will be earmarked to boost the UK's charging infrastructure, including plans to install rapid charge-points across the 'M' and 'A' road network, by 2020.

The Government defines a rapid charge-point as one that mean a car can be charged in as little as 20 minutes.

Speaking at the announcement of the new round of funding for the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: "Owning an electric car is no longer a dream or an inconvenience.

"Manufacturers are turning to this new technology to help motorists make their everyday journeys green and clean.

"This major investment is there to make driving an electric car affordable, convenient, and free from anxiety about the battery running out.

"But it's also about creating a culture change in our towns and cities so that driving a greener vehicle is a no-brainer for most drivers.

"Drivers pay no road tax or congestion charge on ULEVs. And for the longer journeys there will be a rapid charge-point at every motorway service station by the end of 2014, and a network of 500 rapid chargers across the country by March 2015 - the best network in Europe."

Commenting on the announcement, Mike Hawes, the SMMT's chief executive, said: "The move toward a low-carbon vehicle future must be built around the three pillars of consumer incentives, strategically focused infrastructure and increased leverage for R&D support.

"We therefore welcome this announcement, which reflects that balanced approach but, significantly, seeks to incentivise technical developments in all segments of road transport, not just passenger cars.

"UK manufacturers are already committing significant investment to the UK's ULEV ambitions through research, development and production of zero and low emission vehicles and technologies.

"This funding package will help secure additional private sector investment, but more needs to be done to support academic research in this area - as well as developing the skills that will be essential if the UK is to become a global leader in ultra low-emission technologies."

Where some of the funding will go

.  £200m for the continuation of the Plug-in Car Grant, securing the Government contribution of up to £5000 towards the cost of eligible new ultra low-emission vehicles (ULEVs)

.  £100m for R&D projects

.  £35m for a new city scheme

.  £32m on infrastructure (including for a rapid charging network)

.  £30m for buses

.  £30m to assist the purchase of other vehicles

.  £20m for taxi infrastructure and incentives

.  £4m for gas refuelling network for heavy commercial vehicles



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