THE Government is investing £500m to strengthen the UK's electric car market.

Ministers say the cash injection, which will be rolled out between 2015 and 2020, will create jobs, reduce emissions and increase drivers' confidence in electric vehicles.

The automotive sector is worth £11.2bn to the UK's economy, with low emission vehicles a major part of that growth.

Loading article content

The North-East already plays a leading role in the electric sector, with Sunderland-based Nissan's Leaf hatchback a dominant model.

The Japanese company revealed the car shattered a sales record earlier this year, with 630 UK models sold in March, a 155 per cent rise on the 247 it sold in March 2013.

Ministers say the £500m will be used for a number of projects, including £100m to create a research and development centre and a £32m pot to install rapid charging points across motorways and A-road networks by 2020.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Our economy is growing thanks to sectors like our thriving automotive industry that are helping repair and rebalance the economy.

“The UK has the potential to emerge as a world leader in the development of green vehicles.

“Owning an electric car is no longer a dream or an inconvenience.

“Manufacturers are turning to this new technology to help motorists make their every day journeys green and clean.

“This major investment is there to make driving an electric car affordable, convenient, and free from anxiety about the battery running out.”