The government has announced the names of the first batch of low-carbon cars that will be eligible for a ‘Plug-In Car Grant’ of up to £5000.
Available from 1 January 2011, the discount will apply to any qualifying car with a Co2 rating of less than 75g/km.
The first nine cars to become eligible for the grant are the Mitsubishi iMiEV, Smart fortwo ED, Peugeot iON, Citroen CZero, Nissan Leaf, Tata Vista EV, Toyota Prius Plug-in, Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt.
The grant has been configured to reduce the retail cost by 25 per cent up to a maximum of £5000. However, with VAT at 20 percent from the 1 January, the discount on the Nissan Leaf and Vauxhall Ampera roughly equates to the Government simply making the vehicles VAT-free.
The ‘effectiveness’ of the grant will be reviewed by the government over the next four years, with the first formal review in 2012.
Transport secretary Philip Hammond said: "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 government says more models will be added to the list from next year. However, the ‘Plug-In Grant’ is currently subject to a limit of £300m over the life of the current parliament – which equates to around 15,000 registrations per year between next January and 2015.
The remaining £100m from the Government fund designed to ‘promote the uptake of ‘ultra-low carbon vehicle technologies’ will be split between £20m for the installation of re-charging infrastructure and £80m ‘to support research and development activities’.
The government also today revealed that five areas of the UK (the East of England, Midlands, Greater Manchester, Northern Ireland and Scotland) are to receive millions in order to install 4600 workplace and domestic electric charging points.Read Autocar's first drive of the Vauxhall AmperaRead Autocar's first drive of the Nissan Leaf