The Government has announced a £25 million grant to manufacturers to get environmentally friendly cars on the roads. Among the benefactors are BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Ford and Mitsubishi. BMW will do a year long trial assessing the electric Mini E, Smart intend to use the funding to bring a hundred cars to the UK in 2010, and Toyota will trial twenty plug-in versions of the Prius in London next year. Ford has received a grant to put a number of electric Focus hatchback on the road too.
Motorists from locations including Glasgow, Birmingham, London and the north east of England will be selected to take one of around 340 cars and run it as part of the trial, which will begin next year. The money will be taken from the bigger £250m pot announced earlier this year, which the Government has set aside to help make electric cars a viable alternative. Local universities and power suppliers will get involved with setting up charging points and monitoring use of the cars.
David Bott of the Government's Technology Strategy Board said: "We have about 33 million cars on the road at the moment and it's going to go up by another 4-5m in the next 10 years. There are a lot of people buying new cars anyway so the question is how quickly can we get credible alternatives out there?"