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Caution urged over electric cars

The Government and motoring groups have called for patience on electric cars, with a Department for Transport (DfT) spokesman warning the revolution will not happen overnight.

The calls come after the BBC revealed many charging points for electric vehicles are collecting dust.

It found councils up and down the country have forked out over £7.2 million on charging points in the past three years. However, one in six authorities have spent money on points that have not been used in the last 12 months, while not even one in three councils have a point that is typically used more than once each week.

AA president Edmund King has defended the figures. He does not believe the charging points are a waste of time, insisting new technology like this needs to be persevered with.

The DfT spokesman said the Government has invested heavily in the low emissions vehicles sector, with positive results. He pointed to "encouraging growth" in the number of drivers switching to electric cars.

"There were 966 claims for the plug-in car grant in April-June 2013, almost double the number seen in the same quarter of the previous year. But no-one is pretending that everything can change overnight," the spokesman said.

"That is why we are continuing to invest in the infrastructure that will support take up of this new technology across the country, including the charging points announcements we made yesterday."

He added the DfT's aim is to make sure the automotive industry in Britain can continue its recent success by investing in research and development, while continuing to contribute significantly to combating "the challenges of 21st century motoring".