Ministers test drive electric Mini

The business and transport secretaries have taken a spin in an electric car while pledging their support to the introduction of low-carbon vehicles.

Lord Mandelson and Geoff Hoon test drove a Mini E at the Knockhill Racing Circuit in Fife shortly after announcing plans to offer incentives to motorists who opt to buy an electric or hybrid car.

As part of the incentives consumers will receive between £2,000 and £5,000 to put towards the cost of an eco-friendly car from 2011.

Mr Hoon said the cash incentive means an electric car would be "a real option for motorists".

Lord Mandelson also announced plans to double the number of demonstration electric vehicles, which should be tested on Britain's roads in the next 18 months, from 100 to 200.

He said the moves will play a major role in creating a "low-carbon future".

The ministers experienced the electric driving experience first-hand by driving the BMW Mini E, which they said was a "very comfortable" drive.

Taking their seats, Lord Mandelson joked: "This is what the secretary of state for transport is for - he is there to drive you around."

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