The UK is becoming one of the most EV-friendly countries in Europe – its government announced this week that it will invest £500 million between 2015 and 2020 to boost what it calls the ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) industry. Noting that the automotive sector is worth £11.2 billion to the economy, and that ULEVs represent a major part of growth for the future, the government says its new investment will create jobs, reduce emissions and keep Britain at the forefront of green technology.
Some of the highlights of the new investment:
- Local areas coming up with the most ambitious plans to become “Ultra Low Cities” can win a share of £35 million. Winning cities could, for example, incentivize drivers of green cars by letting them use bus lanes or allowing them to park for free. £50 million will also be available for local areas to invest in cleaner taxis and buses.
- £100 million will be invested in research and development to cement the UK’s position as a world leader in the development, design and manufacture of green vehicles.
- An additional £32 million will be invested in charging infrastructure. There will be a DC fast charger at every motorway service station by the end of 2014, and a network of 500 rapid chargers across the country by March 2015 – the best network in Europe.
- Cash grants of £5,000 to EV buyers will be extended. Drivers pay no road tax or congestion charge on ULEVs.
“Owning an electric car is no longer a dream or an inconvenience. Manufacturers are turning to this new technology to help motorists make their everyday journeys green and clean,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. “This major investment is there to make driving an electric car affordable, convenient, and free from anxiety about the battery running out. But it’s also about creating a culture change in our towns and cities so that driving a greener vehicle is a no-brainer for most drivers.”
“Ultra low emission vehicles bring together our most successful manufacturing sectors with our biggest long-term challenge – climate change,” said Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander. “Britain can be the leading country in the world in developing, manufacturing and using ULEVs.”
UK drivers can learn more about the ULEV scene at the governments Go Ultra Low web site.
Image: Nicolas Raymond (flickr)