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Plug-in vehicles receive new boost

Government has announced another £53 million in new funding to support the rollout of electric vehicles, on top of the £22 million already promised in October last year.

Government has announced another £53 million in new funding to support the rollout of electric vehicles, on top of the £22 million already promised in October last year. 

£32 million of the funding is to be spent on expanding the charging infrastructure across the country, including £17 million to develop new public charging points and other vital network infrastructure and £15 million to extend grants for installing home charging systems. 

In addition, £10 million will be invested in a competition to develop new battery designs for next generation ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), while a further £11 million will fund innovation projects across 50 SMEs and major universities. 

‘Popularity taking off’

The announcement comes off the back of impressive growth in the number of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on the UK’s roads. The number of vehicles more than quadrupled in 2014 and around 40 new models are expected to come onto the market over the next three years. 

As a result, the UK is now ahead of France and Germany in the up-take of low emission vehicles.

In January 2015, Green Intelligence reported on a Lancashire dairy firm that is already saving £900 a month by switching some of its delivery fleet to electric. 

Transport minister, Baroness Kramer, said the new funding “marks another milestone in the government’s support for ULEVs as their popularity takes off.

“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.”

Funded projects

Projects covered by the new funding include a new carbon fibre material that could be used to develop a lightweight, low cost vehicle chassis, a zero emission electric bus fuelled by hydrogen technology, and a prototype zero emission power and cooling system to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from refrigerated trucks.  

An extra £500,000 is expected to be announced in the near future to support further innovation.