The government of the UK has announced that it will invest £500 million ($763 million) between now and 2020 to support “ultra-low emission vehicles” (ULEVs), including electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell electric vehicles. This is in addition to £400 million in investment previously committed.
The announcement appears in a new plan from the Department for Transport, Action for Roads: A network for the 21st century, a 75-page document that outlines a far-reaching program of upgrades to the country’s road network, and devotes about one page to a discussion of plug-in vehicles.
The report notes that “over the next decade, the biggest reductions in emissions from domestic transport are likely to come from efficiency improvements in conventional vehicles,” but that “as technology develops, ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), including pure electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell electric vehicles, will play an increasing role in the way we travel.” The report mentions Nissan’s new LEAF plant in Sunderland, and approvingly notes the “potential industrial benefits to the UK of becoming a leader in this new technology.”
The report includes few details on how the new money will be invested. It says:
We will continue to back the UK’s world-class research and development in this area.
In the years ahead there is likely to be a need for wide-reaching networks of rapid chargepoints and hydrogen refueling stations. The expansion of such infrastructure across the strategic road network will encourage consumer adoption of ULEVs. Whilst much of the investment is likely to come from the private sector, there may well be a role for government in supporting this in the early years – as demonstrated by the recent announcement of £37 million of government funding for plug-in vehicle charging infrastructure across the UK.