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Business secretary Lord Mandelson to make electric car charging infrastructure announcement

The government will help create an infrastructure for charging electric cars, according to business secretary Peter Mandelson.

Preliminary details of a speech Mandelson is scheduled to give at the Policy Network event at the London School of Economics later today reveal that the government is preparing to fund development of a car charging infrastructure, in order to push development of electric cars.

Mandelson will say: "Market dynamics alone will not create the shift we need quickly or effectively enough. [This is] going to mean public sector interventions to ensure that Britain has the necessary infrastructure to support low carbon technologies.

"[This] can mean other forms of infrastructure such as the charging networks required to make ultra-low carbon vehicles viable. While these technologies and consumer preferences are still clearly barely off the drawing board, we do need to be careful to ensure that lack of infrastructure does not create a vicious cycle that undermines viable technological solutions.

"We'll need to ensure that UK-based companies can draw on a quality science base and the resources to develop and commercialise low carbon technologies."

Plans for creating electric car charging networks have so far focused on individual towns and cities, most notably London. London mayor Boris Johnson recently announced his intent to make the city the electric car capital of Europe by introducing 100,000 electric cars and building 25,000 charge points in the streets and car parks.

Mandelson will also underline the government's commitment to providing incentives to drive early adoption of low emission vehicles.

"Where appropriate, it will also mean government intervening in the market to generate demand - with support for buyers of energy efficiency measures or ultra low carbon vehicles, or government procurement programs that increase demand for ultra-low carbon vehicle fleets," he will say.

The government has already announced that motorists will be offered incentives of up to £5000 to buy electric cars from 2011. The £250 million scheme will also result in key UK cities becoming testing grounds for how drivers will use and charge their new vehicles, with the government providing 200 electric cars for members of the public to try out.

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