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The announcement comes as part of a new £500 million scheme to encourage UK drivers to switch to EVs and Nick Clegg adds that owning an electric car should become a “no brainer” providing owners are granted these special privileges.
The special treatment intended for electric vehicle owners includes use of bus lanes, and free parking under the government’s new plans.
Councils will be given millions of pounds in extra funding which will enable them to grant special privileges to drivers of EVs and it is believed that the new scheme will make drivers “feel confident” about buying them.
Further additions to the new scheme include every motorway service station having an electric vehicle charging point in place by the end of this year that will be capable of providing power to an electric car for a 100-mile journey in just 20 minutes – the time taken for a quick toilet or coffee stop for most motorists. A further 500 charging points are planned for next year.
It is believed by Mr Clegg that the spending which will be put in place between 2015 to 2020 will cut carbon emissions and create jobs. Local authorities will be able to bid for a share of £35 million in government funding, providing they come up with suitable plans to encourage green travel such as offering free parking and the freedom to drive in bus lanes. A further £50 million will be offered to buy cleaner taxis and buses.
It is widely felt by government officials that Britons like the idea of driving an electric car in principle, but have been put off buying one for fear of the car’s battery running flat, and the anguish and stress this would inevitably cause. Civil servants site popular television shows such as Top Gear for promoting footage of electric cars grinding to a halt as one of the reasons for sales of EVs remaining low.
Drivers will also be eligible for a £5,000 grant to offset the higher cost of owning an electric vehicle, whilst owners of ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) already benefit from perks such as exemption from road tax and the London Congestion Charge.
Mr Clegg 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.
“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.”