The Department for Transport launched a £35 million package to boost the uptake of ultra-low emission cars and scooters yesterday (13 October).
The fresh funding commitment, which was unveiled by Transport Minister John Hayes, aims to see thousands of electric vehicle charge points installed on streets and at workplaces across the UK.
The investment comes as the DfT reported a 250% rise in two years in the number of new ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) registered (see AirQualityNews.com story).
The funding initiative includes the launch of an initial £3.75 million scheme to encourage the uptake of zero emission motorcycles and scooters, providing them with up to 20% off the cost of an electric motorcycle or scooter. Buyers will be able to claim a maximum discount of £1,500.
Up to £10 million will be made available this autumn for charge points outside workplaces and homes where there is no off-street parking. Although the vast majority of electric car owners charge their vehicles at home, this is not always practical for people without driveways.
A further £2.5 million is being made available to councils who commit to installing charge points on streets near homes without private off-street parking.
The funding will also allow for next steps in a £20 million competition to encourage the uptake of ultra-low emission taxis, giving councils the opportunity to apply for funds to install charge points for local taxi fleets.
The announcement comes as Defra launched a new consultation on introducing clean air zones in five cities across England by 2020 (see AirQualityNews.com story). The funding is part of the government’s commitment to invest £600 million in ultra-low emission vehicles by 2020 (see AirQualityNews.com story).
The government is also buying two new Nissan LEAF electric cars for the Government Car Service, on top of 4 that are already in use. The vehicles are built at the Nissan motor manufacturing plant in Sunderland, the purchase marking the government’s commitment to supporting the UK automotive industry.
Transport Minister John Hayes said: “No matter what mode of transport you need – a scooter to get to work, a car or a van to run your business – we are here to help you do it with zero emissions.
“The number of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads are at record levels and new registrations have risen by 250% in just over 2 years.
“We are committing £35 million to help install new chargepoints and offer new grants as we aim for nearly all cars and vans on our roads to be zero emission by 2050.â€?
The Department for Transport is also set to reveal the winners of its hydrogen fuel cell vehicles fleet competition, where 14 public and private sector fleets from around the country – including city councils, emergency authorities, car hire firms and the Science Museum – will receive a share of £2 million for a total of 50 hydrogen-fuelled cars and vans, more than doubling the number of these types of vehicles on UK’s roads.
London’s second hydrogen electric vehicle refuelling station opened yesterday (13 September), a £31 million project involving leading motor manufacturers, hydrogen fuel suppliers, the Mayor of London’s Office and energy consultancies (see AirQualityNews.com story).
The government has already action on getting organisations around the UK to switch to zero emissions vehicles. Through the £5 million Go Ultra Low public sector fleet scheme, first launched in 2014, more than 280 electric cars are already being used by councils, hospitals, government departments and emergency services across England and Wales (see AirQualityNews.com story).