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UK government extends lucrative electric car subsidies and launches new £2.5m scheme to improve uptake

Electric car subsidies are to remain in place in the UK for the coming years with the current government launching a campaign to promote the use of such electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Related: BMW partners with London Brand Management to promote electric cars through artificial intelligence

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg unveiled Go Ultra Low, a £2.5 million campaign that aims to showcase the benefits of electric and plug-in hybrid cars to buyers by educating them on the vehicles and investing in more charging points.

“Our clear objective is to move the car fleet in this country to ultra low-emission vehicles by 2040 and to put money and policy money behind it,” said Clegg, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The scheme brings together five of the largest manufacturers of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the UK, which includes BMW, Nissan, Renault, Toyota, and Vauxhall, with all five helping to educate consumers that enter car showrooms.

Consumers looking to buy an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle can benefit from a subsidy of up to £5,000 for cars and £8,000 vans, although figures in September 2013 showed that just 5,702 claims had been made.

As well as providing continued subsidies, the government also announced that it is investing £9 million in more rapid charge points that will make it easier for motorway journeys to be made using a car powered by electricity.

When it comes to the individual car firms, Suzanne Gray, head of BMW’s electric ‘i’ programme, stated that five per cent of sales would be a sustainable figure for the brand, which would be around 6,000 to 7,000 vehicles but this is contingent on government subsidies staying in place.

“If you stopped subsidies at the end of 2015 then the market will suddenly dry up. It needs to run for longer than that,” Gray added.

Related: Elon Musk: Tesla’s Model S Electric car will run Android and Google Chrome by 2014

The confidence of subsidies continuing was backed up by a Department for Transport official, who told The Daily Telegraph that subsidies will be in place until ultra-low emission cars are “part of everyday life”. This would mean the vehicles being worth five per cent of overall sales – just north of 100,000 cars based on 2013 numbers.

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Jamie Hinks
Jamie Hinks

Jamie is a freelance writer with over eight years experience writing for online audiences about technology and other topics. In his time writing for ITProPortal he wrote daily news stories covering the IT industry and the worldwide technology market, as well as features that covered every part of the IT market, from the latest start ups to multinational companies and everything encompassed by the IT sector. He has also written tech content for our sister publication, TechRadar Pro. Jamie has since moved into sports betting content and is Content Manager at Betbull.