Monday, 25 February 2013

Government gives electric cars a £37m boost

ELECTRIC cars might become a bit more appealing if a multi-million pound Government scheme to make them easier to charge proves a success.

It's fair to say that electric cars haven't exactly set the British sales charts alight but the Department for Transport said it will invest £37 million scheme to invest in a network of charging points for plug-in electric vehicles, which should make owning one an easier prospect for eco-conscious drivers.

Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, said: "This investment underlines the Government’s commitment to making sure that the UK is a world leader in the electric car industry.

"Plug-in vehicles can help the consumer by offering a good driving experience and low running costs. They can help the environment by cutting pollution. And most importantly of all, they can help the British economy by creating skilled manufacturing jobs in a market that is bound to get bigger."

The investment will include grants for private residents who wish to install their own charging points, funding for local authorities to set up charging points, and additional money available for government agencies and railway stations to set up charging areas.

An £11m slice of that funding is available for local authorities to invest in their own electric car charging points, and while Lancashire County Council is yet to respond to Life On Cars' enquiries Sefton Council has said it is looking into the scheme.

A spokesman for Sefton Council said: "As this has only just been announced we will obviously have to look at the finer details of the scheme and the money available.

"We already have a fleet of four electric trucks which are used to supplement cleansing activities right across the borough. These are charged at three locations in Sefton and a further three vehicles are currently on order."

Among the supporters of the investment is Nissan, who won the European Car of the Year award in 2011 with their LEAF electric car.

John Martin, Nissan’s Senior Vice President for Manufacturing in Europe, said: ”We are at a crossroads in personal mobility. Nissan is proudly pioneering zero emission technology through our UK operations and we are delighted that the UK Government is showing it shares our commitment to the transport of the future.

“Electric vehicles become a way of life if the charging infrastructure is in place and Governments are committed to helping drivers to make the switch. We know this from the experiences of Nissan LEAF drivers in countries like Norway where a network of charge points is already in place.”

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