Motorists entitled to 'plug-in car grant'

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Transport secretary Philip Hammond has confirmed that the ‘plug-in car grant’ designed to stimulate demand for low-carbon vehicles will go ahead from January 2011. 

Speaking at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Hammond said that, from next year, motorists will be entitled to a grant of up to £5,000 when buying an electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen fuel-cell car, providing it meets conditions regarding safety, reliability, performance and warranty standards set by the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV).

Available across the UK, it will be open to both private and business fleet buyers and is designed to reduce up-front costs of eligible vehicles by 25 per cent, capped at £5,000. 

A total of £43m has been made available for the scheme up to the end of March 2012. The final budget beyond 2011/12 will be confirmed at the spending review in the autumn.

‘The UK is well placed to exploit the global opportunities in the transition to low-carbon technologies and is already making significant progress through R and D, the low-carbon supply chain and vehicle manufacturing,’ said SMMT chief executive, Paul Everitt.

The low-carbon incentive programme was first announced last year alongside the ‘Plugged-In Places’ scheme.

This initiative saw UK cities and regions bid for investment to further the development of the ultra-low-carbon infrastructure. The Plugged-In Places investment will see the initial installation of over 11,000 charging posts in London, Milton Keynes and North East England.

‘The recent tour of the Vauxhall Ampera in the UK has shown that an extended-range electric vehicle can be accepted as daily family transport − the sector of the market that can have the most impact on both sales and the awareness of the benefits of low-carbon transport,’ commented Duncan Aldred, managing director, Vauxhall Motors.