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News: Government tight-lipped on talks with electric car tsar

The DfT has declared that details of meetings between its officials and the government’s electric car tsar should remain secret.


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IN A move of which the Chinese politburo would be proud, the DfT has declared that details of meetings between its officials and the government’s electric car tsar should remain secret.

The Sunday Times has submitted a freedom of information request to discover details of meetings between civil servants and Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur, after officials refused to disclose the nature or content of the discussions.

“It would not be appropriate to discuss the content of these private meetings,” the DfT said in a statement, declining to elaborate on the reasons for the secrecy. The approach is in contrast to that of the American government, which makes information public unless there are overwhelming reasons not to.

Musk, an American citizen who recently launched the Tesla Model S electric car in Britain, was appointed the government’s official adviser on electric cars last year and charged with helping to increase take-up of the technology.

The drive to promote electric cars is led by the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles, part of the DfT, which has so far been given £900m of taxpayers’ money.