All government fleets will be given funding to purchase electric vehicles in an attempt to ‘lead by example’ by the department of transport.

The first wave of the scheme will see £5 million of funding made available which the government estimates will allow 150 plug-in vehicles to be added to government fleets. Transport minister Baroness Kramer announced that all central government fleets will review how they can incorporate EVs

Baroness Kramer said: “Government must lead by example. Today’s investment will see government switching a significant number of plug-in cars and vans into our fleets and leading the electric charge.”

The government has lofty ambitions for the new ultra low emission vehicle readiness project (ULEV), hoping that the wider public sector will introduce EVs when the scheme expands in the autumn.

Commenting on the need for EVs, chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said: “I will be one of the first in line to use one. This is the right thing to do, with much lower running costs and close to zero emissions, these vehicles will save the taxpayer money and be much greener.

“We are also investing significantly in ultra-low emission vehicles which will help ensure they play an important role in the UK economy as well as the environment.”

The government predicts the EVs can play a major role in the growth of the UK automotive sector which is worth over £11 billion to the economy presently. Nissan manufactures the all-electric Leaf vehicle at a manufacturing plant in Sunderland.