The Government has outlined a £43m spend to support the fast-growing ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) market through infrastructure and research investment.
The news comes as Government figures suggest the UK is outstripping France and Germany in the take up of ULEVs, helped by more than 25,000 grant claims for the ‘plug-in’ scheme, which offers 25% off the price of a ULEV car capped at £5,000 and 20% towards the purchase of a van capped at £8,000.
Ministers announced today an £11m research investment package together with a £32m infrastructure fund, which will deliver more charge points for ‘plug in’ electric vehicles at key locations such as hospitals, train stations and A-roads.
Included in the £32m funding tranche, which runs until 2020, will be £15m to continue the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme whereby ULEV drivers receive a 75% grant of up to £700 towards installation from 13 April 2015.
A further £8m has been set aside to deliver chargepoints on major roads and across towns and cities under a competitive bidding process, which opens in May.
And £9m will be set aside to address 'other infrastructure priorities' with further details to be announced later this year.
Transport minister Baroness Kramer said: ‘Our support to the ULEV industry will help ensure the innovation that is a hallmark of the British automotive industry will continue to drive development in this vital growth sector.’
The £11m research tranche will be pumped into 50 organisations working together on 15 research and development projects to boost Britain’s standing in the sector.
Projects include the creation of a recycled carbon fibre material that will bring lightweight, low cost vehicle chassis structures to the mass market, led by Gordon Murray Design Ltd.
A project led by Magtec aims to develop a zero emission electric bus with hydrogen fuel cell range extender at a much lower cost than the current generation of hydrogen buses.
And Dearman Engine Company Ltd will lead a team developing a prototype zero-emission power and cooling system adapted from a liquid nitrogen powered engine that will reduce the CO2 emissions from refrigerated trucks and air-conditioned buses.