Renault and Nissan have welcomed the news that the Government has decided to extend the electric vehicle grant scheme, which offers fleets thousands of pounds off the purchase price of an ultra-low emission vehicle.
The Government has confirmed that the Plug-In Car Grant, which offers electric car buyers up to £5,000 (25% of the vehicle cost), will be funded until 2015.
However, Transport Minister Norman Baker and Business Minister Mark Prisk also announced that for the first time buyers will now be able to receive 20%, up to £8,000, off the cost of an electric van.
With its 100% electric Kangoo Van ZE, which was launched one month ago and is set to be joined by three electric cars before the autumn of 2012, Renault says it is in a prime position to make the most of this latest boost for low-emission driving.
It says its already keenly priced Kangoo Van ZE, costing from £16,990 excluding VAT and monthly battery hire, would become even more affordable, from just £13,592, putting it within only £1,000 of its diesel counterpart.
The Government announcement also comes at a time when Nissan is conducting real-world tests of a prototype zero-emission all-electric delivery vehicle in London.
FedEx Express and Nissan are collaborating over a two month period to evaluate how the NV200 electric vehicle (EV) prototype copes with the rigours of daily duties in the capital.
James Wright, managing director at Nissan Motor (GB), said: "Today's announcement reinforces the Government's commitment to improving air quality in cities and reducing carbon emissions.
"This grant, coupled with lower running costs and tax benefits, will make switching to an electric van a very attractive option for businesses."
The Nissan Leaf, on sale since March 2011, qualifies for the £5,000 grant for electric cars. The electric version of the NV200 van, which will be produced in Japan, will go on sale later in 2012.
Renault said it will be applying to be part of the Plug-In Van Grant before the scheme's application deadline of January 31, 2012, after which it is believed further details on the scheme's extension to vans are likely to be released by the Department for Transport.
Andy Heiron, head of Electric Vehicle Programme, Renault UK, said, "Having actively lobbied for the inclusion of commercial vehicles in the Plug-In Car Grant scheme over the past year, we're delighted that the Government has acted and made this announcement.
“This addresses the big question that many customers and industry commentators have been asking us for many months and I think we can expect to see a surge in demand.”
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