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Call for industry push on CO2

Date: 01 October 2010   |   Author: Rachel Burgess

The motor industry must do more to promote low-carbon vehicles' whole-life costs to fleet operators, according to transport secretary Philip Hammond.

He acknowledged, however, that smaller businesses would struggle with the move to low-carbon vehicles: "The Government needs to think about how we help small businesses overcome the high initial costs of the technology and beyond that to the whole-life costs."

Hammond added that for many companies "it will be important for them to be seen to be making environmentally friendly decisions".

However, he acknowledged RVs were a problem for the low-carbon vehicles coming to market. "The manufacturers are very much focused on the challenge of RVs and I expect they will be looking at how to support the RVs to get vehicles out there."

When asked how increasing numbers of low-carbon cars would affect road-tax revenues for the Government, Hammond said "it was quite a long away before EVs would make a dent in road-tax income".

"It's not something we need to think about now. The Treasury will obviously review development in this area, but I don't expect it to be affected for 15 to 20 years."

Speaking at Cenex 2010, an event held by the Centre of Excellence for low-carbon vehicle technologies, Hammond said that cars had been "one of the great enhancers of quality of life in the last few decades".

"People are not going to give up lightly the ability to use cars. Fortunately, the technology revolution we are embarking on means they will not have to. For many people the car is the only practical mode of transport. The challenge for us is to de-carbonise the cars on the road.

"We have to stimulate production, which brings down costs and in turn stimulates demand," said Hammond.

He also announced an additional £24 million of funding for six projects supporting the development of low-carbon vehicles. These include implementing nationwide infrastructure, which is important to support consumer acceptance of low-carbon vehicles, added the transport secretary.