Plans to make electric vehicle charge points more widely available for motorists were put forward by the Department for Transport yesterday (24 October).
The measures are due to be included in the Modern Transport Bill, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech in May and is aimed at putting the UK “at the forefront of technologyâ€? (see AirQualityNews.com story). The bill is due to be laid in Parliament next year.
Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, said: “We are committed to making transport cleaner and giving even more drivers the option of using a low emission vehicle as we strive to improve air quality across the country.
“Our ambition is for nearly all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2040, and we are taking real steps to achieve this in the Modern Transport Bill. We now want to hear the views of businesses and the wider public.â€?
There are already more than 11,000 public charge points across the UK according to the government and the DfT has Europe’s largest network of rapid charge points, it claims.
The proposed measures would give government powers to support the roll-out of charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and improve consumer access to the network by making information about the location of public charging stations more accessible to the public, potentially via an online database and through mobile phone apps
The proposals would ensure that drivers can access charge points without the need for multiple memberships from individual providers as well as making consumer pricing information for electricity and hydrogen fuels consistent and transparent.
Measures also focus on supporting ‘smart’ electric vehicle charging that is flexible to grid demands and ensuring there are electric charge points and hydrogen refuelling points at large fuel retailers and motorway service areas.
This week, the government also committed an additional £4 million to the plug-in van grant scheme, to help businesses switch vans and trucks to electric.
This grant has been available to small commercial vehicles of up to 3.5 tonnes since 2012 (see AirQualityNews.com story), but is now extending the eligibility to larger electric vehicles to encourage uptake.
Businesses will now receive grants up to £20,000 when switching their large trucks to electric vehicles.
Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, said: “The electric car revolution is well underway with consumers and this funding will encourage more businesses to consider switching to cleaner vans and trucks.
“Our automotive sector is thriving with the world’s most popular electric car already made in the UK and we are forging ahead to deploy new engine technology to make low-carbon vehicles mainstream, and leading the way in driverless car technology.â€?
And, earlier this month, the government launched a £35 million package to boost the uptake of ultra-low emission cars and scooters, after the number of new ultra-low emission vehicles registered rose by 250% in two years (see AirQualityNews.com story).
The Modern Transport Bill will outline “the role technology and innovation will play in delivering the safe, efficient and user focused transport systems of the future.â€? The consultation on measures for low emission vehicle infrastructure will run for four weeks, closing on 23 November.
The DfT is also consulting separately on the proposed transposition of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive; a Europe-wide legislation to further promote the roll-out of charging facilities for vehicles that run on electricity, hydrogen and other clean fuels.