UK government unveils plug-in vehicle incentive package

The government has stepped up efforts to encourage low-emission motoring by offering to cover 75 per cent of the cost of installing new charging points at homes and railway stations.

The announcement forms part of a wider £37m funding package which extends to public sector organizations that can have charging points installed free of charge.

Three-quarters of the cost of installing new charge points can be claimed by people installing chargepoints where they live; local authorities installing rapid charge points to facilitate longer journeys, or providing on-street charging on request from residents who have or have ordered plug-in vehicles; and train operators installing new charge points at railway stations.

The £37m funding for the package comes from the government’s £400m commitment to increase the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles and is available until April 2015.

In a statement, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said, ‘Plug-in vehicles can help the consumer by offering a good driving experience and low running costs.

‘They can help the environment by cutting pollution. And most importantly of all, they can help the British economy by creating skilled manufacturing jobs in a market that is bound to get bigger.

The announcement comes as production of the all-electric LEAF and a new lithium-ion battery plant is set to launch at Nissan’s Sunderland Plant this spring.

John Martin, Nissan’s senior vice president for manufacturing in Europe, said, ‘This announcement has the potential to make the UK a global leader in EV infrastructure and in turn to accelerate the introduction of electric vehicles in Britain.’

Sounding a note of caution, Philippa Oldham, head of transport at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said, ‘Electric cars have a crucial role to play in cutting the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

‘However, to meet our targets we must not just focus on tailpipe emissions but look at the entire vehicles lifecycle.

‘Vehicle manufacturers and consumers must receive recognition for developing and purchasing other ultra low carbon vehicles which reduce emissions through being more lightweight and engine downsizing.’

The full package includes:

  • Up to £13.5m for a 75 per cent grant for homeowners in the United Kingdom wishing to have a domestic chargepoint installed
  • An £11m fund for local authorities in England to: install on-street charging for residents who have or have ordered a plug-in vehicle but do not have off-street parking – authorities can apply for up to 75 per cent of the cost of installing a chargepoint; provide up to 75 per cent of the cost of installing rapid chargepoints in their areas around the strategic road network
  • Up to £9m available to fund the installation of chargepoints at railway stations
  • Up to £3m to support the installation of chargepoints on the government and wider public estate by April 2015
  • A commitment to review government buying standards (mandatory for central government departments) to lower the fleet average CO₂/km of new cars and encourage the uptake of plug-in vehicles in central government.

Source: DfT