Nick Clegg launches £500m scheme to boost electric cars in Britain

Deputy Political Editor

A £500 million initiative to boost the use of electric and hybrid vehicles, which still represent just one per cent of car sales in Britain, will be launched today by Nick Clegg.

The Deputy Prime Minister said he wanted to encourage drivers to ditch petrol or diesel vehicles by making it cheaper and more convenient to drive cars which run on green alternatives.

At least £200 million is being set aside to fund grants of 25 per cent, up to a maximum of £5,000, towards the cost of an ultra-low emission car.

More charging points will be installed on motorways and A-roads across the country to counter fears that drivers could be stranded when their batteries run out.

Towns and cities will be given cash to design schemes to benefit the drivers of electric vehicles, such as free parking and permission to use bus lanes.

In addition, Mr Clegg will commit the Government to spending £100 million on further research and development of low-emission technology over the next five years.

The moves come amid continuing signs that drivers are stubbornly resistant to the appeal of alternative-fuel vehicles. Almost 99 per cent of cars sold last year run on petrol or diesel, with sales of just 2,512 pure electric cars and 3,584 hybrids.

Mr Clegg said the investment would keep the country at the forefront of green technology, create jobs and reduce harmful emissions.

He 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.”

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