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New grant for eco-friendly cars

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Britons buying electric or ultra-low emission cars can now seek government grants of up to £5,000 under a new scheme.

The £43-million plan, which has been hailed by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond as "an exciting green revolution", offers subsidies on purchase of nine models.

However, these eco-friendly models, which can also save motorists on car insurance premiums, will remain above the £20,000 mark in spite of the grant.

Also, only three of the models - the Mitsubishi iMiEV, the Peugeot iON and the smart fortwo electric drive - are currently available with the other six - the Vauxhall Ampera, the Nissan Leaf, the Tata Vista EV, the Citroen C-Zero, the Toyota Prius Plug-in and the Chevrolet Volt - are scheduled to arrive in the market from March to early 2012.

The Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA) has also warned that the scheme's success would depend upon whether necessary infrastructure has been put in place.

London, North East England and Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire already have part-Government-funded electric car charging points. Under the Government scheme, five more regions are installing charging points - The Midlands, Greater Manchester, East of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Government grant is for up to a quarter of the cost of an electric car up to a maximum of £5,000. All those purchasing these vehicles will be exempt from vehicle excise duty car tax.

© Press Association 2011