Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced a new £500 million Government initiative to boost uptake of electric and hybrid cars in the UK.
Currently, such vehicles make up just one per cent of car sales in Britain, with buyers largely put off by high list prices and the limited range offered by cars powered solely by batteries. Just 2,512 battery electric cars were sold in 2012, alongside 3,584 hybrids.
However, Mr Clegg is keen to push the green-car agenda, and has previously stated that he would like to see conventional petrol and diesel powered cars banned from the roads by 2040.
Part of his plans include making electric car ownership more appealing by ensuring they are exempt from parking charges and bus lane restrictions.
"It’s about creating a culture change in our towns and cities, so that driving a greener vehicle is a no-brainer for most drivers.” – Nick Clegg
Additionally, £200 million of the new fund is being set aside to continue Government grants for those purchasing ultra-low emission cars, which are individually worth up to £5,000.
To allay the ‘range anxiety’ experience by drivers of battery-powered cars, an increased number of charging points will be installed along the country’s motorway and A-road networks, allowing motorists to tackle longer journeys, but presumably not before a significant wait tethered to a charging post.
Part of the fund will also be given to local authorities to design schemes aimed at promoting the use of electric and hybrid cars, while £100 million will be used by the Government itself in the research and development of low-emission vehicle technology over the next five years.
Mr Clegg claims the plans will create jobs and keep the UK at the forefront of green technology.
He said: “Owning an electric car is no longer a dream or an inconvenience. Manufacturers are turning to this new technology to help motorists make their everyday journeys green and clean,” reported the Independent.
“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.”