New ULEV strategy to stimulate the UK economy

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Last week, we attended the Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) 2013 event, the highlight of which was the attendance of the Transport Minister, Norman Baker, who arrived in our very own fuel cell taxi. He used the event as a platform to launch the government’s strategy to drive forward the ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) industry.

Baker announced that an extra £500M in new funding will be made available for the introduction of ULEVs, and amongst the main aims of the government set out in the strategy, is an exploration of the options for a new network of hydrogen refuelling stations to support introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles in the UK

“The new strategy signals a major change in the way vehicles will be powered in the future and demonstrates a strong commitment and investment support from the government towards reducing carbon emissions and air pollution on our roads. Our vision is that by 2050 almost every car and van will be an ultra-low emission vehicle with the UK at the forefront of their design, development and manufacture,” said Baker.

This investment is significant for the British transport industry. Many automotive manufacturers have already committed to the production of clean emission vehicles from 2014 and the extra funding injected into this project will accelerate the deployment of these vehicles and ensure there is an existing infrastructure for it to thrive. This will guarantee that the UK is on track to becoming a low carbon economy as well as further strengthening the UK automotive industry.

The strategy sets out government’s five main aims:

  • Supporting the early market for ULEVs:
    • through plug in grants or other consumer incentives – providing certainty for investors and consumers
    • by raising awareness of the benefits with a government and manufacturer-run campaign
    • by encouraging higher uptake in the public sector
  • Shaping the necessary infrastructure:
    • by providing investment for the installation of charge-points in homes, railway stations and public sector car parks and rapid charge points for longer journeys
    • exploring options for a new network of hydrogen refuelling stations to support introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles in the UK
  • Securing the right regulatory and fiscal measures:
    • by maintaining tax incentives for the purchase of ULEVs until at least 2020
    • clarifying the tax position on ULEVs and providing more information for fleet managers on costs
    • working to secure ambitious but realistic EU emissions targets
  • Investing in UK automotive capability:
    • by working with the Automotive Council to develop and strengthen the ULEV supply chain and discussions with the industry on where to target research and development funding
    • by working with partners to maximise the benefits of the UK’s move to ULEVs
    • by offering £10 million prize to develop a new long-life battery for next generation ULEVs
  • Preparing the energy sector:
    • by ensuring the forthcoming national household roll-out of smart meters will support plug-in vehicle charging

For more information on the strategy, please see the press release on Gov.UK.

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