UK Backing EV Purchases With 5K Subsidy

The coalition government has been hacking away at Britain’s deficit, and some on the left are saying it has essentially given up on its vow to be “the greenest government ever.” But support for electric vehicles (EV) appears not to have waned.

The government announced that in 2011 it will kick back to consumers 25 percent of the cost of a new vehicle, up to 5,000 pounds (around $8,000), if they purchase a Mitsubishi iMiEV, smart fortwo electric drive, Peugeot iON, Citroen CZero, Nissan Leaf, Tata Vista EV, Toyota Prius Plug-in, Vauxhall Ampera or Chevy Volt. Several of those vehicles are expected to be delivered to the UK in January, with all available by early 2012.

smart fortwo electric

image via smart USA

The government also said it would expand the installation of charging stations, adding the Midlands, Greater Manchester, East of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to its Plugged-In Places program. The result will be more than 4,000 new charging points, spread among homes, on-street and retail locations and workplaces.

“Government action to support affordable vehicles and more local charging points means we are on the threshold of an exciting green revolution – 2011 could be remembered as the year the electric car took off,” Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement.

The government says 43 million pounds is available for the EV-purchase subsidies through March 2012, at which point the level of support will be reviewed. Additional vehicles are expected to be added to the eligible list, as well.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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