Over the past few years Britain has become, with the help of partners like Nissan, Honda and Toyota, one of the best places in the world to build cars. We are net exporters for the first time since I was born. Nissan’s Sunderland plant is the most productive in Europe, some would say the world. We are very proud of this success and very grateful to our Japanese partners for making in happen. But we want it to go further. We want Britain to be the best place in the world to design, develop and manufacture the next generation of ultra-low emission vehicles.
The UK Government has demonstrated one of the strongest commitments to the move to ultra-low emission vehicles anywhere in the world: £400m of support available in the current Parliament, £500m committed in the next. A clear, far reaching strategy, a market developing fast, and an attractive fiscal regime. As part of that Industrial Strategy we are jointly funding with industry the 10-year £1 billion Advanced Propulsion Centre to develop the low carbon technologies of the future. Of course a portfolio of solutions is likely in the low carbon future, with battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles all having the potential to play a significant role. Funding for research and development and existing consumer incentives are open to all eligible vehicle technologies.
And I can go further. To make our goal a reality, I can announce today that we are taking the first step in the development of an early network of hydrogen refuelling stations in the UK, to support the roll-out of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Building on the work undertaken in the joint industry-Government UKH2Mobility project, in which a number of vehicle manufacturers including Toyota, Nissan and Honda, participated, we are launching a Hydrogen for Transport Advancement Programme, or Hy-TAP. The aim of the programme is to move the UK from small discrete demonstrator projects to the early stages of a national network of hydrogen refuelling stations.
We will be providing £7.5m of Government funding to support industry in establishing around 15 hydrogen refuelling stations before the end of next year, as well as supporting public sector fleets to be users of the early vehicles.
As hydrogen fuel cell vehicles start to be seen on UK’s roads next year, alongside battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, I hope and believe this will further cement the UK as a leading market for ultra-low emission vehicles and technologies.
I hope today’s event has given you food for thought and I would be delighted to welcome you to the UK in the near future to see our energy innovation activity at first hand.