The road to decarbonising road transport
As yesterday's post makes clear ethanol is certainly not the answer to weaning the world's transportation systems from their addiction to fossil fuels. So what is our best option?
Labour's £5,000 sweetener to launch electric car revolution
By Alok Jha
April 16, 2009
Ultra-green vehicles at heart of £250m plan to slash
The proposals are part of a £250m strategy, seen by the Guardian, spelling out a revolution in
Hoon said yesterday that decarbonising road transport had a big role in helping the
The focus of the strategy, in the first instance, would be on urban transport. "Given that 60% of journeys by car are under 25 miles, there's no reason why someone using a car for commuting on a regular basis will not be able to charge up their car at home, take it to work and come home again well within the distance an electric vehicle should be able to travel," Hoon said.
The cash incentive for consumers would be available to offset the higher upfront costs of electric cars, in particular the price of the batteries in modern vehicles. How the money would be distributed is yet to be decided but Hoon said it would be available only to people buying cars that ran entirely, or for the vast majority of their time, on electricity. The scheme, which would be enforced by setting a ceiling for the amount of CO2 a car emits, will become operational in 2011.
"What we've got to get people used to is the idea that electric cars will become quite normal, quite usual," said Hoon. "That it won't be exceptional and, without being unkind to existing electric vehicles, they won't be slightly odd, they will be cars that conform to appropriate safety standards and we can use on an everyday basis."
Part of this attempt to habitualise people to electric cars will be to offer various models to the public to try out. The government's strategy proposes £20m to foster a core of cities and regions interested in developing an infrastructure to charge electric vehicles.
In addition, about 200 electric cars will be available in city centres across the country for the public to try out.
"It may well be that one of the ways forward is for a city to offer itself as a model for demonstration because we're still at that stage where we've got to persuade people that this can be something that is easy, regular, predictable and not something difficult," said Hoon.
Last week Boris Johnson, the
Car manufacturers are a key part of the strategy: £100m will be available for research to car makers. "What we want to see is the
The government also wants to find ways to support the ongoing costs of electric cars. "We are looking at ways we can continue to support [electric car owners], perhaps, the cost of the batteries - leasing or renting them - there are various options around," said Hoon. "It's that part that could incentivise consumers to buy an electric vehicle." John Loughhead, executive director of the UK Energy Research Centre, welcomed the government's move. "It has developed for itself some high aspirations in the role the
Consumers are to be offered incentives of up to £5,000 to purchase an electric car under government plans to be unveiled today that will also see the creation of electric car cities across the