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Brown pledges to make Britain's drivers greener

PM restates UK e-car ambitions

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'Leccy Tech Gordon Brown wants the UK to become a “world leader" in producing and exporting electric cars.

If that isn't enough come 22 April – Budget Day – the government will also announce that it will enter talks with power companies about setting up a nationwide network of e-car charging posts. And e-car trials will begin in cities from early next year.

Of course, much of this isn't really new. The three-city trial was announced back in October 2008 – and back then it was definitely three cities - as was the £100m project to turn our green and pleasant land into EV nirvana.

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'The range, Prime Minister? 25 miles with a chauffeur, 30 without...'

Once again, exact details of how this whole 'leccy vehicle revolution is supposed to manifest itself when the UK doesn't have a major indigenous car maker were rather lacking. Presumably Business Secretary Lord Mandelson's recent visit to the North East to encourage Nissan to build its first generation of electric vehicles at its Sunderland plant has something to do with it.

To ensure that the fleets of EVs soon to take to the nation's roads are truly green, the Government also plans to relax planning rules on the building of wind farms to ensure Britain hits its target of generating 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2020.

In an interview with the Independent, the Prime Minister said he would consider buying a fleet of electric cars for Ministers so they can set a good example. Good example? We aren't sure what we are most astounded by: the level of patronisation in that comment - or the PM's belief that most of us view Government Ministers with enough regard to follow any example they set, no matter how worthy.

Of course, since Jaguar has yet to show its hand regarding any EVs it may be planning, we wonder if this means sticking Whitehall Mandarins in a fleet a G-Wizzes. We hope so as surely that can only be beneficial to our democracy. ®

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