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Tax-free until 2020 for electric motors

The government has continued its push to promote electric cars by confirming that all-electric cars will not be charged for their tax disc until 2020. The measure is in addition to the £5,000 grant the government offers in an effort to make electric cars less expensive to purchase.

The government has continued its push to promote electric cars by confirming that all-electric cars will not be charged for their tax disc until 2020. The measure is in addition to the £5,000 grant the government offers in an effort to make electric cars less expensive to purchase. Despite such incentives only 4,000 UK motorists have made the change to electric cars, even though mainstream manufacturers like Toyota and Renault continue to bring out improved models. The new incentive is designed to allay fears that such government incentives are only temporary and drivers could be left with more expensive vehicles than they thought a few years down the line.

The government is determined to make the internal combustion engine a thing of the past by 2050 and is also introducing other incentives to help quicken the move to electric motoring. Chief among these concerns is what has become known as 'range anxiety'. This refers to the fact that almost all electric cars will struggle to cover 100 miles on a single charge. Drivers are also aware that even this very limited range can be adversely affected by things such as cold temperatures and using electric accessories such as heaters and radios in the cars. The anxiety is exacerbated by the fact that recharging stations are scarce and a recharge at home could take many hours.

In an effort to combat this, the government has announced a £10 million competition to find a better, long life battery which can substantially extend this range. The UK strategy also includes the possibility of setting up a 'hydrogen highway' of refuelling stations for hydrogen fuel cell cars. These engines are already used in cities for buses and the technology is gaining a foothold in the US. It has advantages over the electric car insofar as the range is much greater, often more than 200 miles and refuelling times are similar to traditionally fuelled cars.

In total, the government plans to spend more than £500 million on Ultra Low Emission Vehicle technologies. Roads minister, Norman Baker, explained the thinking behind the strategy: "We have moved up a gear. Cars in the future will be as different as today's are from a mark one Cortina. Our vision is that by 2050 almost every car and van will be an ultra low emission vehicle with the UK at the forefront of their design, development and manufacture."

The government also expects to see returns on their investment by placing Britain at the forefront of the alternative fuel technology industry, creating jobs and attracting investment into the country.

 

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