Government offers £5,000 subsidies for electric cars, as well as a plan to eventually build charging stations for plug-in vehicles.
The UK government today unveiled a new, £250 million program to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles and charging stations.
Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon announced incentives of up to £5,000 ($7,400) for consumers who buy electric cars. Hoon said the government wanted to see a critical mass of electric car drivers before the government decides on the infrastructure of a charging network.
About 22 percent of the UK’s carbon emissions come from vehicles, including 13 percent from private cars. The government plans to ask cities to become showrooms for about 200 different electric vehicles, letting consumers get hands-on experience.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced a goal to secure government funds to pay for 25,000 charging stations in the city to support 100,000 electric vehicles.
The UK is falling in line with a number of other countries already promoting electric vehicles, including Germany, Denmark, Australia, Israel, China and the U.S. (see China taps Renault-Nissan for electric car pilot in 2011, Bay Area to get infrastructure for electric vehicles and Think says U.S. electric car market is overtaking Europe).
Earlier this month, Japan’s government said it was considering subsidies of up to ¥300,000 yen (USD $3,000) on hybrid cars and other cleantech vehicles (see Japan considers subsidizing hybrids).
Automakers are banking on consumer enthusiasm. Toyota announced late last month it will introduce a Yaris hybrid to compete with the Honda Insight in Japan and the U.S. (see Toyota plans to take on Honda with low-cost hybrid for 2011).