UK’s New Incentives for Electric Cars and Charging Network

During the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, as visitors sail from Heathrow Airport in electric personal rapid transit (PRT), and look out the window at electric buses using hydrogen fuel cell to run 16 hours daily, they will see thousands of electric cars. It will be quite a contrast to the current winter of discontent, as snow storms close roads and airports. London is saving EV and PHEV buyers over $10,000 with new grants, exemptions from congestion fees, and over 1,000 charging stations with a low cost annual subscription.

Nine models of electric and ultra-low emission cars will be eligible for grants of up to £5,000, the government has announced. The grants will be available to motorists across the UK. The first nine cars to become eligible for eco-friendly car grants are:

  • Mitsubishi iMiEV
  • smart fortwo electric drive
  • Peugeot iON
  • Citroen CZero
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Tata Vista EV
  • Toyota Prius Plug-in
  • Vauxhall Ampera
  • Chevrolet Volt

More will follow next year. Program Details

The grant will cover the following types of cars:

  • Electric vehicles (EVs) – these run completely on batteries and are plugged into the mains to be recharged
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) – these use a petrol or diesel engine combined with a battery that plugs into the mains
  • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and other technologies may be considered

The grant will be available to motorists across the UK from 1 January 2011, reducing the cost of eligible cars up to a quarter, up to a maximum of £5,000.

London’s citywide electric vehicle charging network, ‘’, will launch in Spring 2011, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson announced today.

, which will deliver 1,300 public charging points across London by 2013, is part of the Mayor’s plans for London to become the electric vehicle capital of Europe. The network will create a single visual identity for electric driving across the capital, and allow members to charge their vehicles at any one of these public charging points for no more than an £100 annual membership fee. Currently electric vehicle drivers have to register in each separate borough they want to use charge points in. In preparation for this new network a website,, has also been launched providing a ‘one stop shop’ of information on electric vehicles, including charge point locations across the city. Once has been launched in Spring 2011 drivers will be able to sign up for the scheme online.

The development of , has been led by Transport for London in close collaboration with the London boroughs and a wide range of private sector partners – who will play a key part in funding and providing locations for the network’s charge points. Discussions are now taking place with other UK cities developing charge point networks to ensure they can be used seamlessly by electric vehicle drivers and to ensure London’s work can contribute to a national network of charge points.

The Mayor has recently reaffirmed a 100 per cent discount from the congestion charge for electric drivers in the capital, as well as other low emission vehicles, which offers electric vehicle owners using the zone a potential saving of more than £2000 a year.

Beyond London, other areas are installing charging networks in streets, car parks and commercial retail and leisure facilities. These areas are the Midlands, Greater Manchester, East of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Nissan’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, sited the congestion fee in London and other cities as a  reason to invest billions in early electric car leadership starting with the LEAF. The UK has given auto executives greater reason to accelerate EV plans. The UK encourages all of us to prepare for an electric Olympic Games in 2012.

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