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UK aims to become a world leader in EVs

03 February 2014

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The UK government has announced plans to spend £9,3m (€11,3m) on electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure in the hopes of encouraging more people to make the switch to green cars. The plan foresees a rollout of a charging network, including rapid charging stations, across the country. In addition, the British government has launched a Go Ultra Low campaign, which aims to promote the benefits of electric and plug-in hybrid cars.
According to the announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on 30 January 2014, £9,3 million (€11,3m) of funding will be used to install hundreds of charging stations across the country, which will significantly expand the current infrastructure and will include 140 new rapid charging points that can charge an EV in less than half an hour. Nick Clegg hopes that this will allow the UK to position itself as one of the best EV charging networks in Europe.

“Electric cars are one of the most promising of our green industries and we want to secure the UK’s position as a global leader in both the production and adoption of these vehicles. The extremely low running costs of electric cars help drivers save money and we are allocating more than £9 million (€11m) to boost chargepoints across the country to help drivers to go green,” said Clegg in a press statement.

Expanding the charging network

£5,8m (€7m) of the investment will be spent on providing 140 new rapid chargepoints in cities and along major roads to create a nationwide network of 500 fast charging stations, each of which can fully power up an electric car battery in 30 minutes. A further £600,000 (€727,000) is set to be spent on fitting 80 charging points at railway stations, while grants of £2,9m (€3,5m) have been awarded to public sector organisations, including hospitals, fire and rescue services, the Ministry of Defence, and Gloucestershire police force, to install more than 450 charging points for their staff and visitors.

Go Ultra Low

To encourage the society to use EVs and brake some of the myths surrounding new technologies, the British government has also launched a £2,5m (€3m) public campaign together with five major car manufacturers - BMW, Renault, Nissan, Toyota and Vauxhall. The Go Ultra Low campaign aims to promote the benefits of EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) and disprove the common myths and misconceptions about electric cars.

A Go Ultra Low car is considered to be an ultra low emission car, which produces 75g or less of CO2 per kilometer. Currently, this criterion can be fulfilled by a 100% electric car, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and an extended-range electric vehicle.

A new website created for the campaign is designed to let people match their own needs with the ultra low emission vehicle that’s right for them. The website also highlights the advantages of these vehicles.

Already 6,000 public charging points

The £9,3 million investment in the UK’s charging network is part of the £37 million funding for electric vehicle infrastructure that was announced in July 2013. According to the British government’s vision, by 2040 all new cars and vans will be effectively zero emissions, which requires substantial investments in the infrastructure. Currently, there are more than 6,000 public charge points already installed across the UK and the investment announced last week is meant to increase this number substantially.

Slow uptake of EVs

Despite the subsidies offered by the British government of up to £5,000 (€6,000) for cars and £8,000 (€9,700) for vans, the uptake of EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles remains slow.

To increase the uptake of green cars, the UK’s government has also committed to invest £5 million (€6m) to introduce electric vehicles across government and wider public sector fleets this year.


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