In an attempt to lead by example as part of a renewed nationwide promotion of electric cars, the UK Government announced late on Friday that it would be allocating £5 million in funds to purchase more than 150 plug-in vehicles as part of its official Governmental transportation fleet.
The program, open to all central governmental fleets, will make it possible for fleet operators to procure a number of different all-electric cars for use on official governmental business.
The UK Government hasn’t published a list of approved plug-in cars that can be ordered by governmental agencies under the scheme, but among the various cars being considered is the Tesla Model S.
“The Model S we understand will be under evaluation for inclusion,” British-born Simon Sproule, Tesla’s PR Chief, told Bloomberg on Friday. “It would be great to see California-built Teslas transporting Her Majesty’s ministers on official business across London.”
Starting from £50,020 after £5,000 Government grants for the base-model 60 kWh version, the Tesla Model S is certainly more expensive than some electric cars on the market today. But without VAT to pay — we’d presume Her Majesty’s Government can claim that back — we’re guessing Her Majesty’s Government wouldn’t be paying quite that much if it decided to buy a few Tesla Model S as fleet cars for its cabinet ministers to use on official business.
What’s more, the UK government stands to save hundreds of thousands of pounds every year in fuel bills, especially if electric cars are used by ministers in preference to gas-guzzling SUVs or petrol-powered luxury sedans.
As for the Prime Minister? Mr. Cameron currently rides in an armour-plated Jaguar XJ, specially-built we presume for the Prime Ministerial fleet. While it’s nowhere near as large as The Beast — President Obama’s heavily-armoured limousine — Mr. Cameron’s future ride would need to be upgraded at least a bit in order to provide the level of safety required for transporting a member of state.
Yet, says Sprole, the top-end Tesla Model S P85 could easily make two round-trips from Downing Street to Chequers, the Prime Minister’s traditional countryside retreat.
Detailed by Minister for Transport Baroness Kramer on Friday, the £5 million project runs alongside a renewed investment form the UK government in electric car infrastructure and purchase incentives. But with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg going on record recently to say that while electric cars were great – just not for him — we’re wondering just how many of Her Majesty’s Cabinet will be swapping their official governmental cars for something all-electric.
It’s worth noting too that the inclusion of Tesla’s Model S on the list — if indeed it is approved — may raise some eyes in Westminster due to what may be seen as a conflict of interests: Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, is currently the UK Government’s official Electric Mobility Advisor.
Which electric cars would you like the UK government to purchase for official use? Do you think Mr. Cameron will ride in a Tesla Model S? And how much would it cost to transform a Tesla Model S into a fully-armoured Prime Ministerial Ride?
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