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Nick Clegg has reassured the public that the government is still backing the electric vehicle scheme which offers every buyer of an electric vehicle (EV) a subsidy of £5,000 towards its initial cost.
At a launch for Go Ultra Low, a £2.5 million campaign to promote the benefits of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to buyers, Nick Clegg stated that there was “no date in the diary” for these subsidies to be stopped, helping EVs to become more affordable to motorists.
Clegg also announced at the event held in Ace Café in north London that the government will invest in £9 million to install more rapid charge points across the UK to help make motorway journeys in an electric car more feasible.
Despite the £5,000 subsidy for cars and £8,000 for vans, take-u for electric and hybrid vehicles continues to be low, with only 5,702 claims for the subsidy being made up to September 2013.
Nick Clegg said: “Our clear objective is to move the car fleet in this country to ultra low-emission vehicles by 2040 and to put money and policy money behind it.” The Government classes any car emitting less than 75g/km of CO2 as ultra-low emission.
The Go Ultra Low campaign has brought together 5 of the biggest EV and plug-in hybrid manufacturers in the UK – BMW, Renault, Toyota, Nissan and Vauxhall – to help deliver a strong message to the public about the benefits of electric motoring.
The fact that some of the largest manufacturers in the world are collaborating together on this campaign gives some idea of how determined the drive is to promote greener cars. It also illustrates how far away a sustainable electric car market in this country is.
Sales for EVs in 2013 equated to just 1.3 per cent of the total vehicle sales, with only 2,512 pure electric cars and 3,584 plug-in hybrids finding homes within the UK.
With the recent introduction of the new BMW i3, it is hoped that sales for EVs will continue to grow. BMW expects to sell 2,000 of its new i3 cars this year.
Suzanne Gray, head of BMW’s electric ‘i’ programme, told the Telegraph how vital it is that the government subsidies remain, she said: “If you stopped subsidies at the end of 2015 then the market will suddenly dry up. It needs to run for longer than that.”
Speaking about the Go Ultra Low campaign and why it is essential to get buyers into showrooms, Gray added: “We’ve got a huge education task to do. Knowledge levels are not high.”
The government has promised by the end of 2014 “the majority” of motorway service stations will have a rapid charger that will be capable of topping up batteries to around 80 per cent full in 30 minutes.