Electric Car Claim Sparks Denial from Government

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Byline: Iain Laing

THE Government has played down claims it is not doing enough to help introduce electric cars in the UK.

In a visit to the region this week Ivan Hodac, secretary-general of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, said money spent on support for the North East's electric car infrastructure was not supported across the rest of the UK.

His outspoken attack on "piecemeal" Government support has upset ministers who have spent millions of pounds on electric vehicle support.

Mr Hodac claimed that the work of One North East in preparing to introduce hundreds of charging points across the region was not matched elsewhere in the UK.

Nissan's Sunderland plant, which employs more than 3,000 workers, is currently bidding against its factory in Portugal to build the manufacturer's LEAF electric car - a contract which it hopes could create thousands of North East jobs.

But Mr Hodac said Portuguese efforts to introduce electric car charging points were moving much faster than UK plans.

He said: "I know if I buy an electric car I can go to work and charge the car or go home and charge the car. But what if I want to go to London or say a journey of several hundred miles across the country? In Portugal they are really moving fast on this, they are taking a country-wide approach."

But yesterday a Department for Transport spokeswoman said that as the UK's first Low Carbon Economic Area focused on ultra-low carbon vehicles, the North East had "a real opportunity to lead the way in the low-carbon revolution".

She added: "We want other regions in the UK to take their lead from the North East, which is addressing all aspects of the electric vehicle jigsaw, to make the electric car a real option. …