Mr Clark met with Japanese automotive bosses over the weekend, and spoke of his efforts to boost the number of electric vehicles on UK roads. Under his new scheme, businesses would be able to claim grants of up to £20,000 to help them switch their large trucks for new electric-powered models.
Among the motor chiefs he met while visiting Japan included those with large UK bases, representing Honda, Nissan and Toyota.
Mr Clark saw the latest talks as an opportune moment to ease any fears the auto giants may have over the UK’s intention to trigger Article 50 and begin its removal from the European Union in March next year.
Nissan has already stated that a decision on whether or not to build its new Qashqai model at the firm’s Sunderland plant will not be taken until next month. The firm has already raised concerns over Brexit, and its chief executive Carlos Ghosn held Downing Street talks earlier this month.
Speaking at the weekend, Mr Ghosn revealed that he had been given every assurance from the UK Government that the competitiveness of the Sunderland plant would be preserved with “extreme caution”.
A grant for electric vans weighing up to 3.5 tonnes has been available for four years now, but officials say take up has been disappointing. The new scheme will remove the weight restriction, so that any van which meets the necessary requirements will be eligible for subsidy.
It is hoped the newly-reformed scheme will eventually drive diesel-powered heavy goods vehicles off city streets forever.
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Mr Clark said: "The electric car revolution is well under way with consumers and this funding will encourage more businesses to consider switching to cleaner vans and trucks.
"Our automotive sector is thriving with the world's most popular electric car already made in the UK and we are forging ahead to deploy new engine technology to make low-carbon vehicles mainstream, and leading the way in driverless car technology.
"The Government and industry continue to work together to support the UK's world class automotive industry to ensure we continue to be the number one place in the world to develop and manufacture cars."