The new Government scheme to subsidise the cost of buying a low CO2 car will help make the UK "the leading country in the EU for the development of low-carbon vehicles", according to business minister Mark Prisk.
Speaking at the Guildhall in the City of London, Prisk was joined at a presentation of the nine vehicles eligible for the grant by transport minister Phillip Hammond.
The grant – of up to £5000 per vehicle – will "help encourage consumer demand" said Prisk. The government ministers also said that money for installing charging points across the country would also help cement demand for vehicles that are rated at emitting 75g/km of CO2 or less.
"We are not an anti-car government, the car is not a problem, carbon is a problem," Prisk told Autocar.
Paul Everitt from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said that the scheme "was a good start" but the real benefits of making the UK an early adopter of low-carbon cars was the opportunities for research and development and the manufacturing of the components needed for future electric vehicles.
"We want to see the automotive industry investing in the UK and we can help by creating a market," Everitt said.
Transport minister Phillip Hammond told Autocar that the government had lifted the restrictions on installing parking spaces at new housing developments, so as not to stand in the way of the establishment of charging points. The government was also keen to see the installation of fast charging points at supermarkets and at workplaces.