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New Porsche nets subsidy

Porsche's new Panamera luxury four door saloon is to receive a government grant that will take £5,000 off the £90,000 price tag. The Panamera S E-Hybrid is powered by a combination of electric motor and petrol engine. Because it is a 'plug-in' hybrid it can make use of the government grant scheme.

Porsche's new Panamera luxury four door saloon is to receive a government grant that will take £5,000 off the £90,000 price tag. The Panamera S E-Hybrid is powered by a combination of electric motor and petrol engine. Because it is a 'plug-in' hybrid it can make use of the government grant scheme. Many people consider this to be a loophole. Whereas all-electric cars produce no emissions from the vehicle, the savings from hybrids can be marginal over economical petrol engines. Most other vehicles that qualify for the grant are modestly priced car in the £21,000 to £35,000 bracket but the scheme has no limitations on price. It is questionable, however, if the grant was ever intended to subsidise this type of vehicle.

University of Bangor economics lecturer, Dr Neal Hockley, said: "Subsidising electric Porsches is a terrible policy. The UK government already provides considerable financial incentives for low-carbon transport through fuel duty and vehicle exercise duty. Subsidies for posh cars are unnecessary." Although the car is expensive and very fast, it only emits 71g/km of CO2, almost half that of the national average of 133.1g/km, so Porsche are sticking to their guns and claiming that the subsidy is fair.

A company spokesman said: "All we can say is government puts these structures in place to encourage manufacturers to build low-emissions cars and that's exactly what we've done. The grant was not why we've built that car. It's one of the suite of benefits, and I think it's very fair because it's under a system of regulations that the government set up. I'm not sure there should be an exception for any sort of vehicle."

A spokesman for the Department of Transport was also unabashed about the grant for the Porsche, saying: "The grant is not designed to incentivise particular models, it is to incentivise the development and roll-out of emerging low carbon technologies which we expect to become mainstream in coming decades. Making the grant available in this instance meets that goal, as it would with any other ultra-low carbon vehicle."

The Panamera S E-Hybrid can reach 60mph from a standing start in just 5.5 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 167mph. Its emissions record means that it is also exempt from the London congestion charge and it is not liable to pay any vehicle excise duty. Whereas some green groups are questioning the morality of subsiding cars for the rich in a time of austerity, it is clear that the Panamera S E-Hybrid does have excellent emissions figures.

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