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UK: Plugging into the future with first electric car rechargers

Danny Kennedy and Alex Attwood took a spin round Belfast city centre recently — not in any old car, but a state-of-the-art battery-powered version.

The Transport and Environment ministers were launching the electric car charging points that have been installed across Northern Ireland. Forty charging points have already been set up and a total of 140 will be rolled out by the end of the year.

An electric vehicle, or ecar, is any vehicle that is powered, in full or part, by a battery that can be charged by plugging it directly into a mains electricity supply.

While the price of an electric vehicle is beyond many of us at the moment, one European manufacturer has indicated that it will be launching a £13,000 electric car later this year.

And the real savings will be made once the driver has gone through the initial pain of handing over the cash — with a charge costing around £2.50 to take you 100-150 miles.

Meanwhile, the Government is offering incentives to get people to take the plunge. Anyone, including business users, can take advantage of a Government grant that offers up to £5,000 off the list price of a new electric car, or up to £8,000 off the price of a new electric van. And the first 300 private or business users who buy an electric vehicle qualify for a £1,500 grant to install a charge point at their home or workplace.

Other financial incentives include exemption from fuel duty, vehicle excise duty, company car tax, van benefit charge and fuel benefit charge. Business users can also benefit from enhanced capital allowances



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