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Electric vehicle take-up in UK as anticipated

Transport secretary Norman Baker says public use of electric vehicles is ‘in line with our anticipation’ after being questioned in parliament on the UK’s slow initial take-up of the technology

The level of public take-up of electric vehicles is “in line with our anticipationâ€?, according to the secretary of state for transport Norman Baker.

In parliament yesterday (April 25), transport minister Mr Baker said that public take-up of electric vehicles was beginning to increase quickly after a slow start.

Labour has claimed that the UK is falling behind Europe and the US on low emission vehicles

The government has allocated £400 million to support the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles until 2015

He also said that the government had allocated up to £400 million to support the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) until 2015, adding that a document would be published later in 2013 setting out the strategic approach to supporting the uptake of ULEVs.

According to Mr Baker, the £400 million allocation included £82 million for research and development activities, £30 million for plugged-in places infrastructure pilots and £300 million to support motorists with the plug-in car and van grants.

Mr Baker’s comments yesterday came in response to a question from Liberal Democrat MP for Chippenham, Duncan Hames.

Mr Hames had asked about possible government plans for incentives to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles. He said that electric vehicle take-up had been slow and suggested that implementing a national rapid charging network could help encourage the transition from petrol to electric vehicles by motorists.

However, in response Mr Baker said: “Take-up is in line with our anticipation, and as is always the case with new technology, the graph shows a slow start and a rapid increase thereafter. We are seeing more rapid charging points established across the country, including by the private sector which is showing a healthy and very welcome appetite to install such points.â€?

Mr Baker also revealed this week that the government’s £30 million Plugged in Places programme had so far helped with the roll-out of around 4,000 electric vehicle chargepoints across the UK (see airqualitynews.com story).

Electric vehicles are being encourgaged by the government because they produce zero exhaust emissions. Petrol and diesel vehicles, on the other hand, are considered to be a large source of harmful air pollutants such as particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide in the UK.

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