£5,000 grant for electric vehicles

Owners of electric or ultra low-emission vehicles are now eligible for discounts of up to £5,000 as part of a £43 million Government programme.

The scheme, which was implemented on January 1, 2011, will see nine particular green cars made eligible for a grant of £5,000.

The move has been praised by transport secretary Philip Hammond as being the arrival of "an exciting green revolution", but has also been a matter of concern for theElectrical Contractors Association (ECA), which is doubtful about the success of the scheme with regards to the existing infrastructure.

There are also worries that though the Government discount seeks to cover a large portion of the purchase cost incurred, most of the nine cars will come with price tags of over £20,000 in spite of the £5,000 grant.

Currently, only three of the nine eligible vehicles are available. These are the Mitsubishi iMiEV, the smart fortwo electric drive, and the Peugeot iON.

The remaining six - Vauxhall Ampera, Citroen C-Zero, the Nissan Leaf, the Tata Vista EV, the Toyota Prius Plug-in and the Chevrolet Volt - will hit the market from March 2011 to early 2012.

The Vauxhall Ampera is set to cost more than £28,000 even after taking the Government grant into account.

London, north-east England and Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire already have part-Government-funded electric car charging points. Under the Government scheme, five more regions are installing charging points - the Midlands, Greater Manchester, east of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Government grant is for up to a quarter of the cost of an electric car up to a maximum of £5,000. All those purchasing these vehicles will be exempt from vehicle excise duty car tax.

Copyright © Press Association 2011