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14 December 2010 Last updated at 10:41

Nine electric cars will be eligible for subsidies

Details have been released of the first nine electric cars that will be eligible for grants of up to £5,000 in a government subsidy scheme.

Under the £43m initiative that starts on 1 January, buyers will get a 25% discount up to the maximum £5,000.

However, only three of the nine cars will be immediately ready for delivery, with others following as late as 2012.

The government also said that a further five areas were to install charging points after bidding for funds.

The additional locations getting a share of £20m to build plug-in points are the Midlands, Greater Manchester, the east of England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

They follow after London, Milton Keynes and the north-east of England.

'Convenience'

"Anyone who's filled up at a petrol station recently will realise that the ability to recharge overnight at 1-3 pence per kilometre is extremely attractive," Transport Secretary Philip Hammond told BBC News at the launch.

"The point of supporting this technology is to get it up to scale."

However, he acknowledged that how the power was generated was an issue.

"There's no point in switching the car fleet to running on electricity if the electricity emits vast amounts of carbon dioxide."

Of the nine electric cars so far confirmed as qualifying for the subsidy scheme, the three that will be available for delivery in January are the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Smart fortwo electric drive and the Peugeot iOn.

The Mitsubishi is being advertised for sale from £24,000, after the £5,000 government grant. The Smart and the Peugeot electric cars will initially only be available through four-year leases.

The Nissan Leaf and Tata Vista will then follow in March, while the Citroen CZero is currently only confirmed for "early 2011".

The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and the Vauxhall Ampera (which will also be sold - with some modifications - as the Chevrolet Volt) are due to see their first UK deliveries in early 2012.

Where the eligible cars are leased by drivers instead of being bought, the up to £5,000 subsidy will mean a deduction on their monthly leasing fees.

The initiative was unveiled by the former Labour administration, with the coalition government announcing in July that its funding would be ring-fenced from any spending cuts.

The successful consortia who have successfully bid to build electric car charging points include public sector bodies and private companies.

In Greater Manchester, the lead partner for the instillation of plug-in points is Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council.

For the east of England region it is Evalu8 Transport Innovations, a company set up by the University of Hertfordshire.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said: "Today's announcement further confirms the UK as a global front runner in the market for ultra-low emission cars, and open for business for hi-tech green manufacturing."
 

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What they don't say is that....
The battery life is only approx 5 years.
the cost of a replacement battery is £5-7000.
This means you have VERY little or NO resale value after 5 yrs on a car that even allowing for the £5000 sub will cost nearly 20k.
Also they struggle to go in low temperature and the range is affected hugely by a 2nd
passenger, heater/radio by as much as 50%.
Beyond my pocket and in practical terms I'm afraid.

Also as mentioned above the power source is still carbon heavy and will remain so for many years, some of the new very efficient petrol cars are nearly competing on omission levels but at a much lower purchase cost.
 

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currently battery technologies are NOT up to it yet I'm afraid ... and these things do not last - which is why the dust-to-dust figures for the Pius were found to be MORE than a Hummer in a US study last year ....
 

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Exactly DiscoSteve, the Pious and other hybrids/electric cars are currently very un-ecofriendly. The batteries are full of nasty metals and only last a few years, Also so much energy is wasted carrying their bulk around. Add in the fact electrcity generation in the UK is still far from 'clean'. In the whole lifetime of a vehicle an old Land Rover/Jeep runs rings around them eco-speaking, as they tento last many times longer and are made from simpler and more basic materials with less electronics and plastic. Most of the polution created by a car is in its constrction, not use.
 

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11th March 2009
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I believe that in the long term electric cars are the way forward but the technology is not there yet. I don't know whether charging points are ever going to be useful - possibly we could end up actually taking the batteries out of the vehicle and physically swapping them - that would be the only way "refuelling" could compete with petrol in terms of speed. Swapped out batteries could be charged elsewhere, and the energy density of batteries is about a third that of petrol, so it could compete.

Hydrogen is a non-starter: A hydrogen fuel cell is very similar in design to a battery, but it uses gaseous hydrogen and oxygen instead of normal battery acid, giving about a 1/20 of the energy density, so it's totally useless. Also the hydrogen leeks out of the cylinder in a couple of days, so a lot is wasted and you'd have to refuel every morning.
 

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I would be interested to know about the lifetime analysis of cars - especially the Hummer one, Disco Steve.

I have an interest in the subject: one professional and one personal (I drive around in a ten year old Omega). I often raise the issue in workshops, whether it would be better scrap my car and go for a fuel efficient one. What would be better in terms of lifetime carbon emissions?

This report states that car manufacture accounts for 9% of an average Ford and 18% for an average Toyota. The figures have come from the manufacturers.

Those figures don't include maintenance, which might be more on an older car.

I want to believe the keep the older car going argument, as it seems wrong to throw it away. But I wonder whether it is true or not. For example, would recycling the steel reduce the future carbon footprint of a new car smaller. I assuming melting the steel is better than extracting it form iron etc..

On the Prius, I definitely concur, as the MPG figures are rubbish compared to a modern diesel. Although, there are other arguments about local air pollution and the future potential to use electric cars as part of a Smart Grid.

The point I am making, is that the argument is complex.

Better stop as this is way off topic for a Skyscraper forum.
 
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