The Department of Energy and Climate Change says EVs can travel faster without emitting as much CO2

British Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced last week that the highway speed limit might be raised to 80 mph by 2013 on the motorways of England and Wales. But now, the Department of Energy and Climate Change is arguing the government's intentions by suggesting that the new speed limit should be applied to electric vehicles only.

The reason for the highway speed limit increase was to reduce travel times and cut pollution. But those at the Department of Energy and Climate Change say this would lead to a boost in carbon dioxide emissions and goes against the UK's greener policies.

To compromise on the issue, Chris Huhne, Energy and Climate secretary, suggested that the new speed limit apply only to electric vehicles. That way, extra CO2 emissions would not be a problem.

Tesla Models S (black) and Roadster (red) electic cars [Source: Tesla Motors]

"You could foresee a situation where it [the 80 mph limit] would apply to electric vehicles, in which case there would be absolutely no extra carbon emissions," said Huhne. "We're consulting on this and going through all the processes of looking at what the costs and benefits are. We are lower than many other countries at the moment, including some with very good green reputations."

Reports note that some stretches of highway will continue enforcing a 70 mph speed limit for all vehicles due to their "engineering and environment."

Government officials will also need to look into how a split speed limit on highways will be policed as well as potential safety issues associated with a 10 mph boost for electric vehicles only.

CarScoop noted that 80 mph would quickly deplete an EV battery, and that many wouldn't comply with the enhanced speed limit for this reason.

Sources: CarScoop, AutoCar

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