Plug-in vehicles to benefit from £37m funding

Government announces funding package to encourage the uptake of low emission plug-in vehicles and increase the number of charge points throughout the UK

A £37 million funding package to encourage the uptake of plug-in vehicles and increase the number of charge points in the UK was announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) yesterday (February 19).

The funding will see the government provide local authorities, train operators and owners of plug-in vehicles with money to cover up to 75% of the cost of installing new charge points.

The DfT has announced £37 million funding to help encourage to uptake of plug-in vehicles

The DfT has announced £37 million funding to help encourage to uptake of plug-in vehicles

Plug-in vehicles include a wide variety of different technologies, such as battery electric vehicles (BEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and extended-range electric vehicles (E-REV). They are seen as an important tool for improving air quality as they are powered by electricity rather than fuels such as diesel, which produce emissions that have been linked to cancer.

£13.5 million from the funding pot will be made available for domestic charging points, from which UK motorists will be able to apply for a grant to cover 75% of the cost of installation in their home.

Additionally, £11 million has been made available for local authorities in England which will provide up to 75% of the cost of installing rapid charge points on the road network in their areas. Authorities will also be able to apply for up to 75% to cover the cost of installing on-street charging points for residents who have or have ordered a plug-in vehicle but do not have off-street parking.

Up to £9 million has also been made available to fund the installation of charge points at railway stations, while a further £3 million has been allocated to support the installation of charge points on the government and wider public estate by April 2015, according to the DfT.

The package also includes £280,000 funding to expand the Energy Saving Trust’s plugged-in fleets initiative in England to help a further 100 public and private sector fleets to identify where ultra-low emission vehicles would be best suited for use in their business or organisation.

Government commitment

The funding is available until April 2015 and comes from the government’s £400 million commitment to increase the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles to help cut pollution, which was announced in 2010.

As part of the £400 million commitment, consumers have been able to apply for grants of up to £5,000 for the purchase of a plug-in car and £8,000 for a plug-in van. According to the DfT, as of December 31 2012, more than 3,200 claims have been made for these plug-in car and van grants.

Transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP, said: “This investment underlines the government’s commitment to making sure that the UK is a world leader in the electric car industry.”

He added: “Plug-in vehicles can help the consumer by offering a good driving experience and low running costs. They can help the environment by cutting pollution. And most importantly of all, they can help the British economy by creating skilled manufacturing jobs in a market that is bound to get bigger.”

Business minister, Michael Fallon MP, said: “The government is supporting a range of ultra-low emission vehicles. Today’s announcement will make the consumer environment for plug-in vehicles more attractive and, in turn, makes the UK a more compelling place to invest. There are huge business opportunities so we’re committed to ensuring the UK leads the way globally for low carbon vehicles.”

In September 2012, MPs on the Transport Select committee criticised the government’s plug-in strategy for not effectively encouraging a strong enough uptake of plug-in vehicles in the UK (see story).


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