Special Feature

Electric recharging point for plug-in cars

£5,000 grants for ultra-low carbon cars confirmed

The government has already said it will give grants of up to £5,000 to people who want to buy ultra-low carbon cars, but more details about the scheme have now been confirmed. Here’s a summary from Green-Car-Guide.com of everything you need to know about the ‘Plug-In Car Grant’ scheme.

What is an ‘ultra-low carbon’ car?

An electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell car.

What are the main criteria that the vehicles need to meet in order to qualify?

To be eligible for the scheme, cars will have to pass performance criteria to ensure safety, range, and ultra-low tailpipe emissions standards set by the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) in consultation with industry, including:
• Minimum range of 70 miles
• Maximum speed must be over 60mph
• Minimum three-year warranty
• Vehicles must have either EC whole vehicle type approval or to must meet the EuroNCAP protocol or a similar crash test regime.

More details about the criteria are available from www.dft.gov.uk/olev

When will the scheme start?

January 2011

How much will the Plug-in Car Grant be for?

The Plug-in Car Grant will significantly reduce prices by providing 25 per cent towards the cost of a new car, capped at £5,000.

Who will the grant be for?

It will be open to both private and business fleet buyers.

How will the payment work?

Payment of the ‘Plug-in Car Grant’ will be managed in a similar way to the Government’s ‘scrappage’ scheme. Offer of the ‘Plug-in Car Grant’ will be subject to notification of technical requirements to, and state aid approval from, the European Commission. Cars will be discounted at the point of purchase and subsidy claimed by the manufacturer, providing a simple, hassle-free process for the consumer. Subsidy will be 25% of the car’s Recommended Retail Price, up to a value of £5,000.

Which electric vehicles are likely to be available around that time?

Vehicles that are likely to qualify and be available by early 2012 include:
Mitsubishi i-MiEV (electric)
Nissan Leaf (electric)
Renault Fluence (electric)
Vauxhall Ampera (E-REV)
Tesla Roadster (electric)
Think City (electric)
Smart fortwo ED (electric)
Toyota Prius Plug-in (plug-in hybrid)
ECC Citroen C1 ‘evie (electric)

What about recharging?

Also included in the government’s plans is the roll-out of a £30m fund for a network of electric vehicle hubs – called Plugged-In Places – which will see charging infrastructure appearing in car parks, major supermarkets, leisure and retail centres, as well as on the street. The first Plugged-In Places have been named as London, Milton Keynes and the North East. Between them they will be installing over 11,000 vehicle recharging points during the next three years.

A second competition for Plugged-in Places funding is to follow later in the year, with consortia from the West Midlands, Cornwall, Sheffield, the Lake District, Greater Manchester and Northern Ireland having already confirmed their intention to bid for the next wave of funding.

Plugged-In Places will provide the charge points to support these vehicles – demonstrating how electric vehicle charging works in practice in a range of different settings – urban, suburban and regional – as well as testing innovative technologies such as rapid charging, inductive charging and battery swap.

OLEV will also lead work to join up the Plugged-In Places, working closely with partners including the Energy Technologies Institute and the Technology Strategy Board to ensure a fully inter-operable network is established in the UK. OLEV will be assessing the feasibility of charging along strategic corridors with the Highways Agency and motorway service area operators; and of charging infrastructure at railway station parking facilities with the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) and Network Rail.

What’s the background behind the scheme?

The £8.2m investment announced for 2010/2011 is part of a £450 million Government strategy to support the creation of a flourishing early market for ultra-low carbon vehicles. The programme will help to meet the UK’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions from transport; as well as creating new business opportunities for UK-based companies in the automotive and charging infrastructure sectors.

These measures – to be delivered by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) – will move the UK further towards its ambitious carbon reduction targets. They will also support the UK automotive, charging infrastructure and other related supply chain industries in realising the economic opportunities that a shift to low carbon represents.

The development of a consumer incentive scheme for Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles was originally launched as part of Ultra Low-Carbon Vehicles in the UK

What is OLEV?

The Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) is a cross-government team, bringing together existing policy and funding streams to drive and streamline policy delivery. It incorporates policies, people and funding from DfT, BIS and DECC.

What else has the government done?

The Government has already committed over £450 million of support to encourage development and uptake of low and ultra-low emission vehicles which includes:

• £230m plug-in car grant
• £30m plugged in places
• £140m RD&D support through the Technology Strategy Board (this includes the £25m ultra-low carbon vehicle demonstrator programme)
• £20m low carbon vehicle public procurement programme, which will rise to £50m if the first phase is successful.
• £30m Green Bus Fund
• Additional funding announced of £30m announced in the PBR for low carbon transport projects.