Government grant jolts plug-in car sales to life

Sales of plug-in cars have spiked over the last three months with the Government issuing 5,000 grants for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), doubling sales of the previous three months.

The Plug-in Car Grant, which reduces the price by up to £5,000 for cars and £8,000 for vans, has now subsidised 17,000 ULEVs on UK roads since 2010. Qualifying vehicles can offer driving costs as low as 2p per mile.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “It is not surprising that people want these vehicles – they are a pleasure to drive and incredibly cheap to run, as well as beneficial to the environment. The Government is breaking down barriers that may have put people off in the past.

“This growing confidence helps the UK strengthen its position as a global leader in developing green technology. Expanding this sector is also creating thousands of jobs and contributing to Britain’s thriving £11 billion automotive industry, and encouraging more investment in the UK – a key part of this government’s long-term economic plan.

The Plug-in Car Grant is one of a range of Department for Transport measures in place to encourage ULEV uptake with a further £500 million to be invested in the industry between 2015 and 2020.

Hydrogen Hyundais

Hyundai is one of the manufacturers at the forefront of ULEV development and today (21 October) the firm delivered one of its ix35 fuel cell vehicles to the UK clean energy firm ITM Power.

The vehicles are being rolled out as part of the £31m Hydrogen For Innovative Vehicles (HyFive) project, sponsored by the EU research and development arm Framework 7. 

HyFive will see 110 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles sent to various European locations including Copenhagen, Innsbruck, Munich, Stuttgart and London. 

Hyundai Motor UK President and CEO Tony Whitehorn said: “Making the first UK customer deliveries of hydrogen-powered cars is a huge landmark for the industry. Hyundai is the first company in the world to start series-production of a fuel cell vehicle and is committed to rolling-out this technology in line with government plans to grow the refuelling infrastructure.”

The Formula E race series is being used by many auto manufacturers as a testing ground for ULEV technology

Brad Allen

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