Â£5 million investment will see ultra-low emission vehicles joining public fleets to boost take-up and cut running costs
More than 100 ultra-low emission plug-in cars and vans will join the government vehicle fleet as part of a drive to â€œillustrate the effectiveness of the vehiclesâ€, it was announced today (March 10 2015).
A Â£5 million investment to reduce emissions will see 15 government departments and agencies â€“ including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence and the Home Office â€“ benefit from adding 140 ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) to their fleets.
The fleet includes cars and vans used when transporting government staff and equipment, but the investment will also fund the take up by the wider public sector â€“ including councils, police forces and the NHS â€“ where charge points will be installed to allow the vehicles to be charged at work.
The Government Car Service, which provides cars for ministers, will also adopt four ULEVs.
According to the government, todayâ€™s announcement puts UK automotive technology â€œat the heart of governmentâ€ and is the first phase in a project designed â€œto illustrate the effectiveness of the vehicles, and encourage fleets to commit to greater take-up over the coming yearsâ€.
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: â€œThis is an important step. These cars will save taxpayers money on running costs and will bring low emissions benefits to our fleet. Todayâ€™s announcement proves that Britain is leading the electric charge while supporting the growth of this important industry.
She added: â€œULEVs are a major area of growth for the hugely successful UK automotive sector, which is worth over Â£11 billion to the economy.â€
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said: â€œI have led the drive for electric cars and vans across government because â€“ with much lower running costs and close to zero emissions â€“ this is the right thing to do for both the environment and the taxpayer.
â€œThis government is also investing significantly in ultra-low emission vehicles, and I recently launched a Â£10 million battery prize for UK scientists to ensure that we are world-leading in this major new technology.â€
The investment forms the latest part of a Â£500 million government package set aside for ULEV vehicles, which now number more than 25,000 in the UK, announced last year.
Last month, the governmentâ€™s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) announced its latest package of Â£43 million to boost plug-in vehicle infrastructure (see airqualitynews.com story).
However, there has been anger from some electric vehicle charge-point installers over the impact on their business of late OLEV grant payments, although the government claims the backlog of 2014 payments has been cleared (see airqualitynews.com story).