Government announces £40m fund to ‘drive green car revolution’

12.00 | 25 January 2016 | | 2 comments

Four English cities have today (25 January) been awarded ‘significant funds’ to encourage drivers to go green, after successfully bidding for a share of a multi-million pot created to support the take-up of plug-in electric cars across the UK.

Nottingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes and London were named winners in the Go Ultra Low City Scheme and will each receive a share of £40m.

Statistics published last week revealed 28,188 electric cars were registered in the UK in 2015, an almost two-fold year-on-year increase.

The Government says the fund will support the UK’s ‘thriving’ green vehicle sector, improve air quality in urban hotspots and help the government meet its emission cutting targets.

The cities will implement  ‘cutting edge technology’ such as rapid-charging hubs and street lights that double as charge points.

Plug-in car owners will also benefit from local ‘privileges’ including access to bus lanes in city centres, and access to 25,000 parking spaces which could save commuters as much as £1,300 a year.

Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, said: “These Go Ultra Low Cities have proposed exciting, innovative ideas that will encourage drivers to choose an electric car.

“I want to see thousands more greener vehicles on our roads and am proud to back this ambition with £40m to help the UK become international pioneers of emission cutting technology.

“The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and our long-term economic plan is investing £600m by 2020 to improve air quality, create jobs and achieve our goal of every new car and van in the UK being ultra-low emission by 2040.”

Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, said: “The £40m investment by government, combined with funds from each winning area, will transform the roads for residents in and around the four Go Ultra Low Cities.

“With thousands more plug-in cars set to be sold, cutting running costs for motorists and helping the environment, this investment will help to put the UK at the forefront of the global ultra-low emissions race.

“Initiatives such as customer experience centres, free parking, permission to drive in bus lanes and hundreds of new, convenient public charging locations are sure to appeal to drivers and inspire other cities and local authorities to invest in the electric revolution.”

Fund breakdown

London has been awarded £13m to create ‘Neighbourhoods of the future’ prioritising ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) in several boroughs across the capital.

Proposals include more than a dozen streets in Hackney going electric with charging infrastructure such as car-charging street lighting, while Harrow will develop a low emission zone offering parking and traffic priority to owners of plug-in vehicles.

Milton Keynes will receive £9m to open a city centre Electric Vehicle Experience Centre — a ‘one stop shop’ providing consumer advice and short-term vehicle loans.

Bristol has been awarded £7m to offer residents free residential parking for ULEVs, access to three carpool lanes in the city, more than 80 rapid and fast chargers across the city and a scheme encouraging people to lease a plug-in car for up to four weeks to help them better understand the range of benefits that electric vehicles bring.

Nottinghamshire and Derby will use £6m of funding to install 230 chargepoints and offer ULEV owners discount parking and access to more than 13 miles of bus lanes along key routes across the city.

The scheme is also providing £5m of development funding for specific initiatives in Dundee, Oxford, York and the north east region.

New commuter charging hubs in Dundee will open up links across the region for plug-in vehicle owners, while solar-canopied park and ride hubs in York will help reduce air pollution in and around the city.



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    The fact that local authorities are having to work so hard to incentivise the purchase of electric cars shows that the public does not really want them.

    28,000 of them registered in one year – that is a drop in the ocean compared to the numbers of vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.

    Paul’s comments on resale value are also very telling. Electric cars at present are viable for only short urban journeys – the kind of thing for which pedal cycles are useful. Range anxiety means they are not practical for longer journeys. Who wants to arrive at a motorway service area’s charging facility to find that there are several electric cars ahead of you in the queue, or worse than that the chargers are u/s?

    I think that this has more to do with councils’ boasting about their green values, than any real move towards a viable alternative to the fossil-fuelled car. Why is there only a tiny amount of publicity given to Hydrogen-powered cars?

    David, Suffolk
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    I don’t think the government has thought their low carbon car policy through, nor did they anticipate falling oil prices and abundant supply due to Shale. ‘Peak Oil’ is a rather passe concept now, and has been replaced with ‘leave 80% of it in the ground.’ It’s ironic that low carbon technology currently depends on non-renewable resources such as rare earth metals. I believe that the government target is 1.7 million electric vehicles by 2020 – not long away. If these vehicles are charged during the day rather than at night, it will require a 17% increase in electricity generating capacity (according to Prof Dame Julia King). Meanwhile, manufacturers are selling electric vehicles at a loss. Tesla Motors has received $4.9 billion in subsidies from US taxpayers. The main problems are lack of range, plus the cost and longevity of batteries, which also reflects in poor resale values – we had a Honda Insight Hybrid for 4 years – it cost £16,000 new but fears about the batteries meant that most dealers wouldn’t touch it or would offer £4000 at most – we ended up buying another conventional petrol car from Honda who gave us £6000 in part exchange.

    Paul Biggs, Staffordshire
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