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Government to invest £9.3m in car charging points

Dubbed Go Ultra Low, the 12-month campaign will see £9.3m of funding used to create hundreds more charging points at workplaces and key travel routes across the country. 

The funding will come from the £37m for electric vehicle infrastructure announced in July 2013 and is intended to ‘cement the UK’s position as one of the best for electric vehicle recharging networks in Europe’. The Government has also committed to the previously announced investment of £5m to introduce electric vehicles across government and wider public sector fleets this year.

Almost two thirds of this latest batch of funding (£5.8m) will be given to local authorities, earmarked to more than double the UK’s rapid charging network to 500 locations by March 2015. These cover most of the UK south of the Scottish border, and will be located alongside major routes or near to them. Milton Keynes is the biggest recipient, at £1,875m of funding.

Meanwhile, grants of £2.9m will be awarded to public sector organisations to install more than 450 charge points on their own estate for their staff, fleets and visitors. The successful organisations include a central government department (MOD), two of the devolved administrations (Scotland and Northern Ireland), Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, a number of NHS trusts, two fire and rescue services (Devon and Somerset, and London), a police force (Gloucestershire), and several local authorities.

In addition, funding of £637,000 will be used for 80 more charge points at train station car parks on the First Great Western and Northern Rail networks, making it easier for commuters and other rail users to cut the environmental impact of their whole journey. These are likely to be normal-rate chargers, in line with long idle times for parked vehicles.

And a new website, goultralow.com, has been launched to provide a one-stop-shop for information about owning and running one of these vehicles, the makes and models available and the locations of the thousands of publically available charge points.

Nick Clegg said: ‘Electric cars are one of the most promising of our green industries and we want to secure the UK’s position as a global leader in both the production and adoption of these vehicles.

‘The extremely low running costs of electric cars help drivers save money and we are allocating more than £9m to boost chargepoints across the country to help drivers to go green.

‘This means we can lower UK emissions and create high-tech engineering and manufacturing jobs to boost our economy.’

The announcement came as the deputy prime minister visited iconic transport venue Ace Cafe, just off the North Circular in North West London, where he met with managing directors, staff and apprentices from leading motoring companies BMW, Nissan, Renault, Toyota and Vauxhall, all of whom are backing the scheme.

Natalie Middleton

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