American billionaire and entrepreneur Elon Musk has been appointed a new advisor of the UK government to help trigger the electric mobility revolution in the country.
The co-founder of PayPal, who has become a household name after achieving success with his private space company SpaceX, is currently taking by storm the world of electric vehicles with another of his companies Tesla Motors.
The appointment of Musk to help the UK government drive wider deployment of electric cars in order to cut carbon emissions has been announced today by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg during a keynote speech on environmental issues.
Criticising his Tory coalition colleagues over their lack of commitment to the green agenda, Clegg has introduced a new initiative to make the UK a world leader in ultra-low emission cars.
"Because I think it's especially important that we hear from the leading innovators in this field, alongside our call for evidence, I've also asked Elon Musk, a pioneer of electric vehicles in the US, and CEO and co-founder of Tesla Motors, to personally advise the Government on how we can reach the UK tipping point for electric vehicles more quickly," Clegg said.
"Elon helped design the ground-breaking Tesla Roadster. He brings unmatched expertise to the table. Among other issues, he'll consider how we can boost investment, massively increase the take up of electric vehicles across the country and promote the benefits of ultra-low emission vehicles more widely to drivers."
During his speech, Clegg called for large fleet companies, taxi firms and public agencies to explain what more could be done by ministers to encourage them to change to ultra-low emission vehicles.
Clegg promised the coalition will not "turn its back" on the green agenda despite the views of some in the Conservative Party.
"Senior members of the Conservative Party now openly attack environmental policies as anti-growth as well as publicly questioning the threat of climate change," he said at an event in central London.
Clegg's comments came as Government advisers the Committee on Climate Change said emissions targets should not be watered down.
The Government wants all new cars and vans purchased in the UK to be "effectively zero emission" by 2040 and £400m has been committed over the course of this Parliament to support the technology.
A further £500 million will be invested by 2020 and Clegg said the Government wanted to hear from key industry players to make sure "we get the most out of every penny".