DoE and DRD bid for electric car 'transport future'

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Two government departments in Northern Ireland have joined forces to try to secure funding to encourage the use of electric cars.

To encourage motorists to buy new electric vehicles, an infrastructure of charging points will need to be in place across Northern Ireland.

The departments of the environment and regional development have teamed up to bid for funds through a special initiative called "plugged in places" which provides funding for electric vehicle projects across the UK.

They have also signed an agreement with Nissan and Renault, who both hope to have a new range of the vehicles on the roads by 2012.

Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy said the agreement would "strengthen our bid and show that the North is an innovative and dynamic region that major companies want to work with".

Transport future

Environment Minister Edwin Poots added: "Electric vehicles are an exciting part of our transport future and I think this agreement will help to ensure that we start to enjoy the benefits that these vehicles bring sooner rather than later."

The Renault-Nissan alliance will share information and ideas relating to charging networks, energy supply and vehicle training.

It is understood that some of the money could be used in the short term to subsidise the purchase and running of electric vehicles in Northern Ireland.

The plugged in places bid will be submitted to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles by 29 October.

The bid is also supported by a consortium including local councils and representatives of the IT, motor and energy industries.

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