Press release

Deputy Prime Minister takes 'green' cars up a gear

£500 million to get more drivers into ultra low emission vehicles.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The government will invest £500 million to boost the ultra low emission vehicle industry and help drivers both afford and feel confident using electric cars, the Deputy Prime Minister announced today.

The automotive sector is a success story of the UK’s economic recovery, with a new vehicle rolling off a UK production line every 20 seconds and the industry is worth £11.2 billion to the economy. The production of ultra low emissions vehicles (ULEV) is a major part of growth both now and for the future.

The investment of £500 million between 2015 and 2020 will create jobs, reduce emissions and set the agenda for the industry, for our towns and cities, and for motorists, so that Britain remains at the forefront of green technology.

£500 million investment

The investment will:

Create ‘Ultra Low City Status’

Local areas coming up with the most ambitious plans can win a share of £35 million to make the leap to becoming ultra low. Winning cities could, for example, incentivise drivers of green cars by letting them use bus lanes or allowing them to park for free. Additional funding of £50 million will also be available for local areas to invest in cleaner taxis and buses.

Create jobs and innovate

We will invest £100 million in research and development in ULEV to cement the UK’s position as a leader in the development of these technologies. The UK’s automotive industry has undergone a renaissance in recent years and we have the potential to emerge as a world leader in the development, design and manufacture of green vehicles. This investment will help create skilled British jobs and have further positive impact down the supply chain.

End ‘range anxiety’

£32 million funding boost for charging infrastructure including plans to install rapid chargepoints across the ‘M’ and ‘A’ road network by 2020 so that drivers can find a rapid chargepoint when they need one. Rapid chargepoints mean that a car can be charged in as little as 20 minutes.

Save consumers money

To encourage more people to use ULEV, car grants of £5,000 off the upfront cost will be extended. This is worth at least £200 million.

The Deputy Prime Minister visited the Transport Research Laboratory in Wokingham with Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander to see how green cars are tested and to speak to industry leaders.

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, said:

Our economy is growing thanks to sectors like our thriving automotive industry that are helping repair and rebalance the economy, building a fairer society for this generation and the next.

The UK has the potential to emerge as a world leader in the development, design and manufacture of green vehicles.

Owning an electric car is no longer a dream or an inconvenience. Manufacturers are turning to this new technology to help motorists make their every day journeys green and clean.

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.

Drivers pay no road tax or congestion charge on ULEV. The average journey made by motorists is just 7 miles, with the typical range of a pure electric car being around 100 miles. For the longer journeys, there will be a rapid chargepoint (20 minutes to charge up) at every motorway service station by the end of 2014, and a network of 500 rapid chargers across the country by March 2015 – the best network in Europe.

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said:

Our economic plan is delivering a growing economy, rising employment and making Britain a more attractive place to invest. But there is still a large amount to do to ensure our recovery is sustainable and prosperity is secure.

That is why it’s right that we squeeze spending elsewhere to invest in the interests of the future.

Ultra low emission vehicles bring together our most successful manufacturing sectors with our biggest long-term challenge – climate change. Britain can be the leading country in the world in developing, manufacturing and using ULEV. This half billion pound government investment will help to ensure we rise to the challenge.

To help interested drivers to find out more about what ULEVs could offer them, the Deputy Prime Minister launched the Go Ultra Low campaign in January. Backed by 5 major car companies, Go Ultra Low provides clear answers about the vehicles and how to use and charge them.

In 2013 government announced it would be speaking with industry, academics and other experts on how £500 million might be put to best use in helping this rapidly developing market pick up pace. Today’s announcement is the result of that consultation.

We are also working on other elements of support, including the support for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and expect to publish further details later in the year. The allocations announced today allow for flexibility to respond to a changing market.

Full details of each scheme will be published by autumn 2014, with some of the schemes opening for applications shortly thereafter.

Published 29 April 2014