Anyone planning to buy an electric car between January 2011 and March 2012 will be able to apply for a grant of 25% off the cost of their purchase, up to a maximum of £5,000.
The scheme, which was first announced by Labour, has been confirmed by the coalition government and £43m – enough for at least 8,600 grants – has been guaranteed for it.
Electric cars (and vans) are now here – there’s no longer any doubt about it. It will be a while until many people own them, but the technology has been established and is developing fast. It will happen. The government is keen to encourage this as electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions (although obviously that electricity has to be generated somewhere).
Although electric vehicles are only suitable for short-range use at present, this will gradually improve (think how good mobile phone and laptop batteries are these days) and range-extender electric cars already offer much greater potential for long distance use.
(Range-extender electric cars are electric cars with onboard petrol-powered generators which can be used to power the engine when the batteries run out, thus enabling you to continue driving as far as you need).