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Government extends £5,000 plug-in grant for eco-friendly cars

The UK government will continue to offer a financial incentive for those who buy an eco-friendly vehicle, it has been announced.

It was unclear whether the government would continue to offer a plug-in car grant of £5,000 for cars that emit equal or less than 75g/km of CO2, but now the scheme will continue until ‘at least February 2016’. £200 million has been set aside for this purpose.

The grant, which will continue to cover all categories of vehicle, was meant to end once 50,000 eligible vehicles had been sold – a milestone that is expected to be reached in November 2015.

The government also announced it will be looking at a longer term plan for the grant, which could be revealed after the Government Spending Review in November 2015.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “I’m pleased to announce today that the government is maintaining the current levels of grant, even as we move past the milestone of 50,000 vehicles.”

“The UK is now the fastest growing market for electric vehicles in Europe. We will continue to invest to help make this technology affordable to everyone and to secure the UK’s position as a global leader,” he added.

Electric car sales increased 256 per cent in the first six months of 2015 compared with the same time a year earlier, according to official figures, and surpassed the total figure for 2014 in half a year.

In a bid to convert people away from the combustion engine, the government recently setup a campain called Go Ultra Low that is designed to dispel myths surrounding hybrid and electric cars.

Go Ultra Low head Hetal Shah commented: “Continuing the Plug-in Car Grant at current levels is positive news for everyone, as it encourages zero-emission motoring and secures more funding for a greater number of ULEV buyers.

“This announcement demonstrates the government’s commitment to supporting the growth of the ULEV market. If we are to meet ambitious targets for ULEV uptake, continued investment is paramount.”

It is hardly unsurprising the scheme is being continued when the government wants the UK to be a leader in electric cars, but how strong the level of financial help will remain is open to debate.

Electric cars are more expensive to buy than their petrol and diesel counterparts, but never having to fill up is proving tempting for Brits. The question is, then, how popular will electric cars become before some sort of new tax is introduced?

In related news, plans are afoot test out ‘electric motorways‘ that can charge a hybrid and electric car’s battery as it drives along.

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