PM vows to make UK 'electric car capital of Europe'

The prime minister has spelt out the government's policy drive to make Britain the 'electric car capital of Europe' within the next decade.

At a meeting with energy and motoring bosses at the British Motor Show in London, Gordon Brown called for a more streamlined planning system to allow for the swift implementation of an electric charging network.

He also made the case for closer work with Germany, France, Denmark, and Portugal on international industry standards.

Mr Brown last week urged the EU to set tougher binding fuel emissions standards, such as cutting the average car's CO2 output per kilometre by 40 per cent by 2020.

The premier also signalled his support for more research into the development and commercialisation of electric cars and closer collaboration with the National Grid and energy firms to assess the impact on the electricity system of the widespread use of electric vehicles and ensure adequate capacity.

The government is to provide more than £90 million of funding for research, development and demonstration of low carbon vehicles over the next five years.

An additional £20 million has been set aside for lead markets for low carbon vehicles through the use of strategic public procurement.

A Downing Street spokesman said: 'The government is committed to working with industry to make advanced low-carbon and electric cars widely available.

"The prime minister held a very constructive meeting today with key manufacturers, large energy providers, research engineers and vehicle designers to hear their views."

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