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'Millions' of electric cars needed

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New figures show that Britain needs to make sure there at least 1.7 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the roads by 2020 in order to achieve its climate change targets.

Wildlife and environment group WWF-UK has said that a total of 6.4 million are required by 2030 to meet the target of an 80% reduction of carbon emissions by 2050.

EVs will still be very expensive for buyers even though the Government has introduced a 25% grant for the vehicles, which will cover a maximum of £5,000.

Government subsidies and other incentives are needed to get the necessary number of cars on the roads, the WWF-UK said.

However, drivers can put the savings they make from smaller fuel and tax bills towards car insurance for their new EV.

The WWF-UK report also said there would be a significant decline in the demand for fuel if more people start using EVs. This will help the UK to avoid spending £5 billion a year on oil imports.

A 75% reduction in car emissions can be attained by 2030 if there is a high level of EV uptake and an improvement in internal combustion engine vehicles, which could potentially lead to a reduction in the UK demand for fuel by 80%.

WWF-UK campaigns director David Norman said: "It is vital that people start consuming and travelling less to make a transition to a low-carbon economy and reduce our dependency on oil and emissions from cars.

"Road transport accounts for 40% of petroleum products consumed in the UK so a switch from conventional cars powered by petrol or diesel to EVs would have a much-needed impact on reducing fuel demand."

© Press Association 2011