£500m bid to boost electric car use

The Government is to invest £500 million in a drive to get more travellers using electric cars.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg charges an electric car during a visit to the Transport Research Laboratory in Berkshire
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg charges an electric car during a visit to the Transport Research Laboratory in Berkshire

The cash boost will include an extension of the Government scheme to provide grants of up to £5,000 towards the cost of an electric vehicle.

Announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the investment covers the period 2015 to 2020 and is intended to boost the ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) industry.

The initiative will:

Create "ultra-low city status" - local areas coming up with the most ambitious plans can win a share of £35 million to make the leap to becoming ultra-low.

Create jobs and innovate - the Government will invest £100 million in research and development in ULEV to cement the UK's position as a leader in the development of these technologies. This investment will help create skilled British jobs and have a further positive impact down the supply chain.

End 'range anxiety' - £32 million funding boost for charging infrastructure, including plans to install rapid chargepoints across the motorway and A-road network by 2020 so that drivers can find a rapid chargepoint when they need one. Rapid chargepoints mean that a car can be charged in as little as 20 minutes.

Save consumers money - the £5,000 ULEV grant will be extended to at least 2017 or until at least 50,000 grants have been claimed. This is worth at least £200 million.

"The UK has the potential to emerge as a world leader in the development, design and manufacture of green vehicles."

He went on: "Owning an electric car is no longer a dream or an inconvenience. Manufacturers are turning to this new technology to help motorists make their every day 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."

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: "Our economic plan is delivering a growing economy, rising employment and making Britain a more attractive place to invest. But there is still a large amount to do to ensure our recovery is sustainable and prosperity is secure.

"That is why it's right that we squeeze spending elsewhere to invest in the interests of the future."

He went on: "Ultra-low emission vehicles bring together our most successful manufacturing sectors with our biggest long-term challenge - climate change.

"Britain can be the leading country in the world in developing, manufacturing and using ULEVs. This half billion pound Government investment will help to ensure we rise to the challenge."