Ultra low carbon cars given £500m funding boost

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Affordability and reliability are at the centre of a £500m government investment to encourage the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs).

The investment, taking place between 2015 and 2020, will focus on four initiatives designed to increase the uptake of ULEVs, encourage innovation and create jobs.

Local authorities are being encouraged to compete for a share of £35m aimed at projects to make ULEV ownership more attractive in towns and cities. Another £50m will also be available for local areas to invest in cleaner taxis and buses.

A further £32m is being invested into charging infrastructure, including plans to install rapid chargepoints across the ‘M’ and ‘A’ road network by 2020.

Car grants of £5,000 off the upfront cost of ULEVs will be extended, and £100m is earmarked for further research and development in low carbon technologies for the automotive industry.

In a statement Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, said: ‘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.

Welcoming the announcement, BMW UK managing director, Tim Abbott said: ‘The UK government’s commitment to supporting the transition to lower-emission vehicles comes at a crucial phase in the development of the electric car market.

‘The government’s funding commitment provides certainty that the UK is serious about embracing these new technologies and complements the very substantial investments being made by industry to introduce innovative lower-emission technologies that are not only exciting for customers but also good for the environment.

‘The development of rapid charging infrastructure, together with the continuation of the Plug in Car Grant, is particularly important in giving potential electric vehicle owners the additional confidence some of them might need to make the switch.’

Key features of the OLEV package:

  • £200m for the continuation of the Plug-in Car Grant, securing the government contribution of up to £5,000 towards the cost of qualifying, new (ULEVs.
  • £30m to assist the purchase of other vehicles.
  • £100m for R&D projects.
  • £20m for taxi infrastructure and incentives.
  • £30m for buses.
  • £35m for a new city scheme.
  • £32m on infrastructure (including for a rapid charging network).
  • £4m for gas refuelling network for HCVs.

Source: SMMT