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New charge for electric car industry

29 Apr 2014 at 12:17

Improving the UK's network of electric vehicle charging points is one of the aims of a newly-announced £500 million investment package.

Covering the period between 2015 and 2020, the new funding has been unveiled by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister.

It is aimed at boosting Britain's ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) sector by encouraging more motorists to opt for the greener vehicles and putting money into researching and developing brand new technologies.

A scheme that gives drivers grants of as much as £5,000 towards electric vehicles will be extended until at least 2017 thanks to the new cash, while initiatives to install rapid charging points on motorways and A-roads throughout the country will be funded.

Local areas will be asked to come up with innovative ideas, such as offering electric car drivers free parking, with the best getting a share out of £35 million.

Mr Clegg said the overall aim is to make electric car ownership affordable and convenient.

He said he wants motorists to be able to drive an ULEV without having to worry about breaking down if their battery runs out of power before they can reach a charge point.

The RAC's technical director David Bizley, said: "The fact remains that electric cars are still only practical for a small minority of motorists as the absence of any real breakthrough in battery technology means that the range and purchase cost remains a major inhibitor to uptake. This is coupled with the fact they are generally seen to have low residual value.

"Today, we have more conventional internal combustion engines and hybrids providing lower carbon solutions and with hydrogen fuel cell technology on the horizon it's difficult to see electric vehicles taking off without something significant happening.

"That's not to say those who do use them need better and improved support, so it is welcome to see the Government investing in practical help for the estimated 9,000 motorists in the UK who do drive electric cars and encourage more people to do so."

Copyright Press Association 2014