Electric vehicles and their integration in the built environment

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

Explains what government is doing to support electric vehicles.

Transport Minister Norman Baker gave a video address on how the government is supporting electric vehicles at EV2BE: ‘Electric vehicles and their integration in the built environment’, an event organised by BRE Group.

Electric vehicles and their integration in the built environment


I am sorry not be with you in person today (27 September 2011), but I am glad to have the opportunity to talk to you about how the coalition government is positioning Britain as a global leader in the design, production and use of electric and ultra low emission cars.

In the short term, the majority of CO₂ savings from road transport will come from improvements to conventional technologies, driven by EU regulations on fuel efficiency.

But here in the UK we are also preparing for a much more fundamental change:

We are already seeing ultra-low carbon vehicles being driven on UK roads, changing the face of motoring. We are fully behind this change - putting in place the incentives to needed to establish a market for these pioneering technologies, supported by a favourable tax regime.

Thanks to our ground-breaking “Plug-In Car Grant”, which gives motorists a 25% subsidy up to £5,000, new ultra-low emission cars are more affordable. There are 10 eligible cars which are, and will be, on our roads.

Worldwide, there is strong demand for these new vehicles, with the UK a key early market for manufacturers. As of 30 June 2011, 680 cars had been ordered through the scheme.

Our objective has always been “real” grants for “real” cars - cars that are safe and reliable; cars that meet the needs of motorists and provide a motoring experience that’s at least as good as, if not better than, the conventionally powered vehicles they currently drive.

In June, we published a comprehensive electric vehicle infrastructure strategy that identifies how a national recharging network can develop in a way that is targeted, convenient and safe.

The strategy sets out how we are ensuring that plug-in vehicles are an attractive choice for the motorist, how we are making it easier for individuals to charge at home, at night, after the evening peak in electricity demand and how we will make it easy for individuals to locate and use public chargepoints. We are also making it easier to install recharging infrastructure by removing regulatory barriers.

The national planning policy framework went out for consultation in July. The framework encourages local authorities to implement policies to include recharging infrastructure in new domestic, workplace and retail developments.

And, through our £30 million “Plugged-In-Places Programme,” we are establishing a network of vehicle recharging points in 8 areas across the UK - from homes and workplaces to streets, car parks, retail and leisure facilities - to support the new wave of electric vehicles that are coming to market, and to allow us to learn more about how consumers use charging infrastructure.

The programme has already more than trebled the number of recharging points in the UK. Indeed, 15% of drivers now live in local authority areas that have plugged-in places funded publicly accessible charging infrastructure.

And, of course, we want the UK to benefit from the business opportunities of ultra low carbon cars. We want green growth. We want UK businesses’ efforts to seize commercial opportunities in this sector and are supporting them in doing so.

So Nissan is building a plant to manufacture its electric vehicles and batteries in the north east - and others will follow.

Meanwhile, Chargemaster and Ecotricity have recently both announced plans to build privately-funded networks of thousands of recharging points at motorway service stations and other locations across the UK by next year.

These are really exciting developments. I hope I have given you a taste of the potential here and that your conference today (27 September 2011) gives you the opportunity for a stimulating debate about the changes ahead.