During October, the Government announced a total of £22 million in new funding to accelerate the development and rollout of low carbon technologies in vehicles.
On 9 October, business minister Matthew Hancock announced £11 million in funding for developing a network for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) in the UK.
The £11 million includes £9 million to develop a network of up to 15 hydrogen refuelling stations across the UK by the end of next year and £2 million to encourage public sector fleets to deploy new FCEVs.
The funding follows on from research undertaken by the Government’s UKH2Mobility project, which brings together leading businesses in the automotive, energy, infrastructure and retail sectors with Government departments to evaluate the benefits of FCEVs in the UK.
‘Huge economic opportunity’
Hancock, who made the announcement whilst meeting representatives from Honda, Nissan and Toyota in Japan, said: “Hydrogen cars present us with a huge economic opportunity and can bolster our internationally renowned automotive industry.
“We want to make the UK one of the best places in the world to design, manufacture and sell ultra-low emission vehicles.”
A further £11 million in extra funding was also announced on 14 October to be delivered through Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board) to accelerate the development of low carbon technologies for road vehicles.
Innovate UK had already committed £4 million to its ‘Adapting cutting-edge technologies’ competition, with the new announcement bringing the total available to £15 million.
The funding is part of a £500 million government commitment to promote and develop ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) in the UK between 2015 and 2020, announced by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg in May this year.
‘Must invest more’
Commenting on the new funding, Baroness Kramer, transport minister, said: “By 2040, we expect virtually all new cars and vans to be using carbon-cutting technology and we want to see as much of this as possible designed and built here, in the UK, delivering economic as well as environmental benefits.
“We are already a world leader in this field and we must invest more resources to maintain our edge.”
Recent figures from the Government’s Plug-in Car Grant scheme are showing a surge in interest in ULEVs, with over 5,000 grants provided between July and September 2014, more than double the figure for the previous quarter.