Nick Clegg Promises £500 million for ULEVs

The UK Government has announced in a press release that the:

Deputy Prime Minister takes ‘green’ cars up a gear!

The government will invest £500 million to boost the ultra low emission vehicle industry and help drivers both afford and feel confident using electric cars, the Deputy Prime Minister announced today.

The automotive sector is a success story of the UK’s economic recovery, with a new vehicle rolling off a UK production line every 20 seconds and the industry is worth £11.2 billion to the economy. The production of ultra low emissions vehicles (ULEV) is a major part of growth both now and for the future.

The investment of £500 million between 2015 and 2020 will create jobs, reduce emissions and set the agenda for the industry, for our towns and cities, and for motorists, so that Britain remains at the forefront of green technology.

The £500 million on offer will be divided up amongst four target areas which the press release itemises as follows:

Create ‘Ultra Low City Status’
Local areas coming up with the most ambitious plans can win a share of £35 million to make the leap to becoming ultra low. Winning cities could, for example, incentivise drivers of green cars by letting them use bus lanes or allowing them to park for free. Additional funding of £50 million will also be available for local areas to invest in cleaner taxis and buses.

Create jobs and innovate
We will invest £100 million in research and development in ULEV to cement the UK’s position as a leader in the development of these technologies. The UK’s automotive industry has undergone a renaissance in recent years and we have the potential to emerge as a world leader in the development, design and manufacture of green vehicles. This investment will help create skilled British jobs and have further positive impact down the supply chain.

End ‘range anxiety’
£32 million funding boost for charging infrastructure including plans to install rapid chargepoints across the ‘M’ and ‘A’ road network by 2020 so that drivers can find a rapid chargepoint when they need one. Rapid chargepoints mean that a car can be charged in as little as 20 minutes.

Save consumers money
To encourage more people to use ULEV, car grants of £5,000 off the upfront cost will be extended. This is worth at least £200 million.

More detailed information on reducing “range anxiety” reveals that:

The average journey made by motorists is just 7 miles, with the typical range of a pure electric car being around 100 miles. For the longer journeys, there will be a rapid chargepoint (20 minutes to charge up) at every motorway service station by the end of 2014, and a network of 500 rapid chargers across the country by March 2015 – the best network in Europe.

Accompanying Nick Clegg on his recent visit to the  the Transport Research Laboratory was Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander. He had this to say on the economic benefits of the planned investment:

Our economic plan is delivering a growing economy, rising employment and making Britain a more attractive place to invest. But there is still a large amount to do to ensure our recovery is sustainable and prosperity is secure.

That is why it’s right that we squeeze spending elsewhere to invest in the interests of the future.

Ultra low emission vehicles bring together our most successful manufacturing sectors with our biggest long-term challenge – climate change. Britain can be the leading country in the world in developing, manufacturing and using ULEV. This half billion pound government investment will help to ensure we rise to the challenge.

From a personal point of view my own average journey is a lot longer than the figure quoted by the government.  I don’t drive in cities, I don’t commute to work, I shop largely online,and most of my mileage involves journeys over 100 miles. What would suit me best would be the ability to recharge an electric vehicle at any and all of the surf beaches along the north coast of South West England, but for some strange reason Nick and Danny make no mention of that!

They also make no mention of the possibility of any of those shiny new rapid chargepoints, or any other type of chargepoint for that matter, supporting vehicle to grid technology. It looks as though I’ll have to give Nick and Danny a ring and challenge them to part with some of their £100 million R&D budget to help fund a project along the lines that interest me!

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