Consumers could receive incentives of between £2,000 and £5,000 to buy an electric car from 2011, the Government announced today.
Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon said the initiative — part of the Government’s low-carbon transport plan — would mean an electric car was “a real option for motorists”.
He announced the five-year initiative with Business Secretary Lord Mandelson.
The Department for Transport is beginning discussions with the motor industry and financiers to determine how best to deliver this assistance. To be eligible cars would need to meet modern safety standards and have a range and top speed sufficient to give mass market appeal.
Mr Hoon said today: "Cutting road transport CO2 emissions is a key element to tackling climate change. Less than 0.1 per cent of the UK’s 26 million cars are electric, so there is a huge untapped potential to reduce emissions.
"The scale of incentives we’re announcing today will mean that an electric car is a real option for motorists as well as helping to make the UK a world leader in low-carbon transport."
Lord Mandelson said: "Britain has taken a world lead in setting ambitious targets for carbon reduction. Low-carbon vehicles will play a key role in cutting emissions.
"Government must act now to ensure that the business benefits of this ambition are realised here in the UK. We want the British motor industry to be a leader in the low-carbon future, and Government must direct and support this, through what I call new industrial activism."
The five-year plan involves a £250m scheme to deliver a green motoring transformation and involves promoting the infrastructure and support technology and encouragement of manufacture in the UK that will place low-carbon transport at the centre of the Government’s vision for the UK economy.
The two ministers were planning to drive a new Mini E electric vehicle in Dunfermline in Scotland to demonstrate the technology of low-carbon motoring.
At present the cost of electric cars is high, with one high-performance vehicle, the Tesla Roadster, having a starting price of more than £87,000.
At the moment there is also little infrastructure in place to support the recharging that such cars need.
Last week London Mayor Boris Johnson announced a plan to introduce thousands of charging points across the capital.
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