New year sees new dawn for the electric car

2011 is set to be the time the electric car comes of age. As of the 1st January motorists can now apply for a 25% discount on certain electric vehicles […]

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By Sumit Bose

2011 is set to be the time the electric car comes of age. As of the 1st January motorists can now apply for a 25% discount on certain electric vehicles worth up to £5000 in a bid by the UK government to secure electric vehicles in Britain’s low carbon future.

Paul Everitt, The Society of Motor Manufacturers Chief Executive, said: “The transition to ultra-low carbon vehicles is a great opportunity for the UK motor industry. The Plug-In Car Grant will support the delivery of practical, low carbon vehicles and we will see further progress of new and conventional technologies in the years ahead.”

There will be nine eligible cars, six of which are currently available for purchase either later in the year or at the beginning of next year:

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV, smart fortwo electric drive and Peugeot iOn are all available this month onwards. The Nissan Leaf and Tata Vista go on sale from March. Citroen’s CZero is due out early 2011. And then by the spring of 2012 we should see the Vauxhall Ampera,Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and Chevrolet Volt.

The incentive will be further bolstered by the coupling Plugged-In places scheme, which aims to help roll out the infrastructure necessary for electric vehicles to establish a footing in UK industry.

A total of eight locations will establish charging networks using Plugged-In Places funding. London, Milton Keynes, North East England, Midlands, Greater Manchester, East of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will share £20m to further the development of the ultra-low carbon infrastructure with over 15,000 charging points getting installed over the coming years.