The UK government wants at least half of all new cars in Britain to be ultra-low emission by 2030.
The ambition is part of plans unveiled today as part of the government’s Road to Zero strategy, which is intended to make “the UK the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle”.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said the strategy “sets out a clear path for Britain to be a world leader in the zero emission revolution – ensuring that the UK has cleaner air, a better environment and a stronger economy”.
The strategy details plans to enable a massive expansion of green infrastructure across the country, reduce emissions from the vehicles already on the UK’s roads, and drive the uptake of zero emission cars, vans and trucks.
It outlines several measures including a push for chargepoints to be installed in all newly-built homes, where possible, and new lampposts to include charging points, potentially providing a massive expansion of the plug-in network.
The strategy also details the launch of a à‚£400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund for new and existing companies that produce and install charge points. The request for proposal to appoint a fund manager will be launched in the summer.
It creates a new à‚£40m programme to develop and trial innovative, low cost wireless and on-street charging technology and also provides up to à‚£500 for electric vehicle owners to put in a charge point in their home.
And it also launches an Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce to bring together the energy and automotive industries to plan for the increase in demand on energy infrastructure that will result from a rise in the use of electric vehicles.
The Department for Transport says that together these measures “will put the UK at the forefront of a global revolution in motoring and help to deliver cleaner air, a better environment and a strong clean economy”.
The UK has already will end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040. The Road to Zero Strategy builds on this commitment and outlines how government will work with industry to support achieving this.
The government will work alongside industry, businesses, academia, consumer groups, devolved administrations, environmental groups, local government and international partners to enable the deployment of vehicle infrastructure networks and prepare for “a greener future for the UK’s roads”.
Grayling said: “The coming decades are going to be transformative for our motor industry, our national infrastructure and the way we travel. We expect to see more change in the transport sector over the next 10 years than we have in the previous century.
“We are expecting our economy and society to experience profound change, which is why we have marked the Future of mobility as one of the four grand challenges as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.
“The Road to Zero Strategy sets out a clear path for Britain to be a world leader in the zero emission revolution – ensuring that the UK has cleaner air, a better environment and a stronger economy.”
The Road to Zero Strategy is technology neutral and has no plan to ban any particular technology, such as hybrids.
The UK will host the world’s firstà‚ Zero Emission Vehicle summit this year in Birmingham. This event will bring together policy makers, industry experts and opinion formers from around globe to tackle carbon emissions and to explore ways to improve air quality.
There are already more than 150,000 ultra-low emission vehicles on British roads.
Erik Fairbairn, chief executive and founder of Pod Point, the UK’s largest independent chargepoint provider, said the strategy “shows the government’s ongoing positive support of zero emission transport”.
“The strategy shows some sensible proposals to increase the amount of EV charging infrastructure across the UK, with a good understanding of the need to rollout charging across homes, workplace, and public locations.
à‚ “The rollout of EV charging has been accelerating rapidly over the past couple of years, mainly through heavy investment from private companies such as Pod Point who are dedicated to building national infrastructure. It is good to see this additional support from the government, which will allow for further acceleration.”
However, he added that the strategy was “disappointing in that there is no movement on the government’s 2040 ban of internal combustion vehicles. At Pod Point we see a clear path which would allow internal combustion vehicles to be banned in 2030, some ten years earlier.”
James Court, Head of Policy & External Affairs at the UK’s Renewable Energy Association said the strategy was “a very encouraging starting point which will address some of the most immediate challenges for electric vehicles”.
“Charging infrastructure is consistently stated as one of the biggest hurdles for consumers, and this strategy promises very welcome funding and new regulations for home, work and motorway charging.
“Electric Vehicles and charging infrastructure are key to the future decentralized energy system that will lead to a smarter, cleaner and cheaper market, but we need to make sure we are having a no regrets revolution, and that starts with ensuring we are putting in smart chargers that will give homeowners and the grid flexibility.
“The government also needs to make sure we are not overlooking easy and cost effective solutions for better air quality and climate targets available right now, with biofuels able to provide significant reductions in road transport immediately, starting with the introduction of E10 which would double the amount of renewable fuels currently in the fuel mix.”