Press release

Government drives forward plug-in car revolution

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

New ultra low emission vehicles strategy launched to help grow the UK economy.

Zero emission taxi

Transport Minister Norman Baker today (4 September 2013) launched the government’s strategy to drive forward the ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) industry.

The new strategy signals a major change in the way vehicles will be powered in the future and reaffirms the government’s commitment to provide new opportunities for the motor industry to help grow the UK economy.

The minister launched Driving the future today - a strategy for ultra low emission vehicles in the UK during his visit to the annual low carbon vehicle exhibition in Bedfordshire.

Norman Baker said:

These are exciting times for the motoring industry as ultra low emission vehicles are the future for road travel. Our vision is that by 2050 almost every car and van will be an ultra low emission vehicle with the UK at the forefront of their design, development and manufacture. This strategy moves us up a gear in pursuing that vision.

As well as huge opportunities for the automotive sector, this will bring life-changing benefits to our towns and cities improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions and it will provide energy security by reducing our reliance on foreign oil imports.

We recently announced in our Action for roads paper over £500 million of new capital investment between 2015 and 2020 to continue to support the development and adoption of ULEVs in the UK. We look forward to working with industry on how best to use this money to make the government’s vision a reality as quickly as possible.

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) is inviting industry to have a say through a call for evidence on how best to invest £500 million of funding to drive the revolution and establish the UK as a premier market for ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs). The call for evidence will be launched shortly.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

The automotive industry provides thousands of high-quality jobs across the country and we are determined to keep it that way. By setting out the level of our financial support up to 2020 we are demonstrating our long-term commitment and giving business the confidence to invest.

We will keep working in partnership with industry on where our investment can best drive growth as we support the transition to ultra low emission vehicles.

The government’s long term strategic approach will deliver:

  • a growing fleet of, and private markets for, ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs)
  • a network of charging points and other infrastructure making ULEVs an attractive proposition
  • the development of world class skills and facilities for the development of ULEV technologies leading to global export
  • a smarter electricity grid to benefit vehicle owners and the electricity system

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Chief Executive Mike Hawes said:

The UK must be a lead producer and market for low and ultra-low carbon vehicles. We’re pleased to see the strategy set out a longer term approach to the incentives, policies and initiatives which are needed to create confidence for vehicle buyers and manufacturers. We strongly support the collaborative approach with our industry which will help to secure the UK’s position as a leader in the development, production and use of ultra-low emission technologies.

Jim Wright managing director of Nissan Motor GB said:

As the driving force behind the UK’s electric vehicle market, Nissan has played a key role in shaping today’s strategy and we are proud to be working alongside government and other vehicle manufacturers to ensure that the zero emission market is accessible to all.

Nissan continues to take the lion’s share of EV sales worldwide, and earlier this year we launched the second generation LEAF with more than 100 enhancements designed to make all-electric driving more viable than ever before. We are pleased to see that the government’s strategy sets out clear intentions that will help incentivise zero emission mobility in the UK and open up the EV market to thousands more motorists.

Robert Evans UK chairman of UK Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Association (EVSEA) said:

UK EVSE welcomes the new ultra low emission vehicle strategy. From an industrial supplier perspective the continuity of government support for UK e-mobility mapped out in the strategy is of particular importance.

UK EVSE members are committed to advancing the development of best practice and technical standards for charging infrastructure, supporting the needs of e-mobility stakeholders including motorists, charge post hosts, car companies and government. UK EVSE continue to work with OLEV regarding options for the development and maintenance of a national charge point register.

The strategy sets out government’s 5 main aims.

Supporting the early market for ULEVs:

  • through plug in grants or other consumer incentives – providing certainty for investors and consumers;
  • by raising awareness of the benefits with a government and manufacturer-run campaign
  • by encouraging higher uptake in the public sector

Shaping the necessary infrastructure:

  • by providing investment for the installation of chargepoints in homes, railway stations and public sector car parks and rapid charge points for longer journeys
  • exploring options for a new network of hydrogen refuelling stations to support introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles in the UK

Securing the right regulatory and fiscal measures:

  • by maintaining tax incentives for the purchase of ULEVs until at least 2020
  • clarifying the tax position on ULEVs and providing more information for fleet managers on costs
  • working to secure ambitious but realistic EU emissions targets

Investing in UK automotive capability:

  • by working with the Automotive Council to develop and strengthen the ULEV supply chain and discussing with industry on where to target research and development funding
  • by working with partners to maximise the benefits for the UK from the move to ULEVs
  • by offering £10 million prize to develop a new long-life battery for next generation ULEVs

Preparing the energy sector:

  • by ensuring the forthcoming national household roll-out of smart meters will support plug-in vehicle charging

The government has more than 2 years’ experience of providing the Plug-in Car and Van Grants, the plugged-in places programme, investment in R&D in the ULEV sector and participating in the UKH2Mobility project. Each of these programmes has helped to inform the development of this strategy. We are publishing a number of research outputs alongside this strategy which summarise the key evidence that has emerged from many of these programmes, including:

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Published 4 September 2013