16 December 2010, 11:58 BST
The Department for Transport has announced nine electric vehicle models which will be eligible for £5,000 grants from January 1 2011. The Government has also announced the successful bidders in the second phase of the 'Plugged-in Places' initiative which will see the introduction of new networks of electric vehicle recharging facilities in selected locations.
The first nine cars to become eligible for the low carbon car grants are: Mitsubishi iMiEV; smart fortwo electric drive; Peugeot iON; Citroen CZero; Nissan Leaf; Tata Vista EV; Toyota Prius Plug-in; Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt. More models are expected to follow next year.
The grant will be available to motorists across the UK, reducing the cost of eligible cars by a quarter, up to a maximum of £5,000.
The list of grant-eligible vehicles is largely in line with expectations although there is a notable absence in the form of the high profile Tesla electric sports car which will cost in excess of £80,000.
The Government is also encouraging the introduction of a new network of electric vehicle recharging points in streets, car parks and commercial retail and leisure facilities in selected localities. The successful bidding consortia in the second phase of the Plugged-in Places programme are based in: the Midlands; Greater Manchester; East of England; Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The first three Plugged-in Places were announced earlier this year as London, Milton Keynes and the North-East.
The Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said: "A few years ago, ultra-low emission cars with mass market appeal appeared just a pipe dream. Now they are a reality and we can have all the convenience of the car without all the carbon that normally goes with it.
"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."
The Business Minister Mark Prisk said: "Today's news that motorists will be able to choose from at least nine cars under the consumer incentive scheme and that we are expanding the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles will further reinforce the message that the UK is Europe's leading producer of ultra low carbon vehicles."
At the recent Spending Review , the Government said that it has made provision for over £400m to promote the uptake of ultra-low carbon vehicle technologies. This includes approximately £80m supporting research and development activities; £20m for the installation of infrastructure; and, subject to review, provision of around £300m to support consumer incentives for the life of the Parliament.
The Government says that it will continue to monitor the most effective way to deliver this investment. The first review of the Plug-In Car Grant will take place in Spring 2012 and the level of the grant will be unchanged until then.
Source: Low Carbon Vehicle Pertnership