When the UK's government changed hands back in May, the previously promised subsidy of $7,800 (U.S. at the current exchange rate) for ultra-low carbon vehicles was immediately called into question. Even the UK's current business secretary, Vince Cable, boldly stated that the new government "moved on from the era of subsidies." With a high likelihood that the subsidy would never come to fruition, the UK stood at risk of becoming one of the few remaining major nations to not offer assistance for purchases of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.
The automotive industry, environmentalists and eager green car buyers sighed in relief on Wednesday when the UK's government unexpectedly announced that the subsidy was approved intact, starting next January. As Transportation Secretary Philip Hammond remarked:
The $7,800 subsidy mainly applies to the purchase of plug-in hybrids, EVs and fuel cell vehicles. The Office for Low Emissions Vehicles will release additional program requirements that will be posted on its site at a later date. The subsidy has been approved through March of 2012 and will be up for review and possible adjustments the prior January. Now, we can officially add the UK to the ever-growing list of countries that offer substantial monetary assistance for advanced technology vehicles. Follow the jump to read more about the UK's commitment to ultra-low carbon vehicles.The coalition Government is absolutely committed to low carbon growth, tackling climate change and making our energy supply more secure. We are sending a clear signal that Britain is open for business and that we are committed to greening our economy. This will ensure that the UK is a world leader in low emission vehicles.