By Steven Birch
Mass market electric cars have been given a £52 million boost, while industry experts are still calculating how environmentally friendly vehicles could affect car insurance premiums.
Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond awarded £24 million to develop the UK's low carbon vehicle capability, which will be topped up by contributions from businesses.
The money will be awarded to the six winning projects from the latest Technology Strategy Board competition, with projects including: the development of new engines for plug-in hybrids of Nissan, Lotus and Jaguar Land Rover cars; a lightweight electric bin wagon; the development of materials to make vehicles more lightweight; and new thermal energy technologies to improve the performance of vehicles.
The Government has also outlined the criteria for the Plug-In Car Grant, which will give green motorists up to £5,000, provided the electric, plug-in hybrids or hydrogen-fuelled cars have been crash tested and pass performance tests.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said: "While I am convinced that rail will be the future of long distance inter-urban journeys, we can't ignore the fact that 84% of journeys are made by car and there is no realistic prospect of displacing the private car for point to point complex journeys."