‘Plug-in Car’ grants for UK drivers

UK motorists will receive up to £5,000 to buy an ultra-low-carbon car, and the roll-out of supporting infrastructure will begin in selected regions, the government announced on 25 February 2010.

The ’Plug-in Car’ grants will be available across the UK from January 2011, by which time a range of eligible vehicles is expected to be available.

The grants will provide 25 per cent towards the cost of a new car, capped at £5,000, and will be open to both private and business fleet buyers. To be eligible for the scheme, cars will have to pass performance criteria to ensure safety, range and ultra-low tailpipe emissions.

Also included in the government’s plans is the roll-out of a £30m fund for a network of electric-vehicle hubs – called ’Plugged-In Places’ – which will see charging infrastructure appearing in car parks, major supermarkets, leisure and retail centres and on the street.

The first Plugged-In Places have been named as London, Milton Keynes and the north east. Between them, more than 11,000 vehicle recharging points will be installed during the next three years.

The initiatives are part of a £450m government strategy to support the creation of a market for ultra-low-carbon vehicles.

The Plugged-In Places will provide the charge points to support these vehicles, demonstrating how electric-vehicle charging works in practice in a range of different settings – urban, suburban and regional – as well as testing innovative technologies such as rapid charging, inductive charging and battery swap.

A second competition for Plugged-in Places funding is to follow later in the year, with consortia from the West Midlands, Cornwall, Sheffield, the Lake District, Greater Manchester and Northern Ireland having already confirmed their intention to bid for the next wave of funding.