TRANSPORT Secretary Grant Shapps has announced plans to let electric car drivers use bus lanes and pay less to park — a month after buying one himself.
Green number plates on zero pollution vehicles would distinguish them from the rest.
The Department for Transport hopes more drivers will buy cleaner cars as a result of the move, part of the Government’s £1.5billion strategy to clean up road transport.
But motorist groups pointed out Mr Shapps will be among the first to benefit after he bought a £50,000 Tesla Model 3 electric car.
Campaigners warned it would benefit the rich who can afford electric cars, leaving the vast majority of motorists stuck in traffic.
Commuters would also be hit by more congestion in bus lanes.
Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK campaign, blasted: “The Transport Minister’s hypocrisy with his new £50k Tesla shows just how out of touch with reality he is.”
He added: “When your bus is late, rest assured it’s because hordes of Tesla’s have broken down to recharge and are blocking the bus lane.”
Katy Taylor, of the Go-Ahead public transport group, said: “Bus lanes provide a vital role in tackling congestion but already suffer from unnecessary blockages.
“Encouraging some cars into them will slow down public transport.”
A similar scheme in Ontario, Canada, led to a rise in electric car use.
He recently doubled funding for street charging points. Figures show 25,097 new electric cars registered in the first nine months of the year, more than double the number compared with 2018.
Last night Mr Shapps’ aides said he ordered his electric car before becoming Transport Secretary.
They insisted he is committed to persuading others to buy electric vehicles like him and that is why he is making owning one more beneficial.