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Electric cars get charge point network

The Government is to introduce a national network of charging bays for electric cars, with the aim of installing 1,000 before the end of next year.

Topping up at the charge points is free, but customers must pay £75 a year to access three pinned power points in pillars with a unique key.

London is expected to get 200 of the charge points and Manchester is also likely to get a large proportion as it plans to introduce a congestion charge zone to its city centre before 2013.

There are only 100 charging bays in UK at the moment, with 60 on streets and car parks in Westminster and in Birmingham, Newcastle, Sheffield, Cambridge and on the Isle of Wight.

Elektromotive, the main company responsible for installing them, has reached agreement with councils for the rapid expansion.

The charging points have a normal three-pin socket inside a locked box. Recharging takes about two hours.

The Government is introducing the network of charging points now as alternatively fuelled cars increase in popularity.

According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, no electric cars were bought in 2005 but nearly 600 were sold altogether in 2006 and 2007.

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