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by Tim Beissmann

UK motorists purchasing ultra-low carbon vehicles are now eligible for a rebate of up to £5000 ($7740) under the government’s new ‘Plug-In Car Grant’.

The grant applies to vehicles with average CO2 emissions less than 75g/km, which includes three vehicles currently on the market and six due to be launched shortly.

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV, smart fortwo electric drive and Peugeot iOn are eligible for the grant and are already on sale in the UK.

The Nissan Leaf, Tata Vista and Citroen C-Zero will join them in the first half of this year, and the Vauxhall Ampera, Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid and the Chevrolet Volt will follow early in 2012.

An updated list of eligible vehicles will be announced later this year.

The grant officially entitles green car buyers to a 25 percent discount on the list price of their eligible vehicle, up to the value of £5000.

With the £5,000 grant, the price of a UK-spec Mitsubishi i-MiEV drops to £23,990 ($37,100).

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) CEO, Paul Everitt, said the transition to ultra-low carbon vehicles represented a great opportunity for the UK automotive industry.

“The Plug-In Car Grant will support the delivery of practical, low carbon vehicles and we will see further progress of new and conventional technologies in the years ahead,” Mr Everitt said.

“The incentive, coupled with the charging infrastructure program – Plugged-In Places – is helping to develop a co-ordinated and comprehensive approach to creating vital consumer demand.”

The Plugged-In Places scheme will invest £20 million ($31 million) into establishing charging networks in eight locations around the UK, installing more than 15,000 charging points in the near future.

According to the SMMT, average new car tailpipe CO2 emissions in the UK have decreased 17 percent over the past decade, and will continue to head south rapidly as plug-ins and ultra-low carbon vehicles become increasingly commonplace.




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