Eight cities in the UK, including London, Milton Keynes and Bristol, have secured a combined £40 million in funding to increase the uptake of hybrid and electric vehicles.
The funding, which comes as part of the government’s Go Ultra Low campaign, will be used to support and develop electric vehicle infrastructure and incentives in the chosen cities.
The ‘Go Ultra Low Cities’ each submitted a pledge to support electrified vehicles. London has been awarded £13 million to create so-called ‘Neighbourhoods of the Future’, which will prioritise parking and traffic flow to ultra-low-emission vehicles (ULEVs) in several boroughs.
In Milton Keynes, £9 million will be used to create a new Electric Vehicle Experience Centre, which will educate the public on the benefits of ULEVs as well as providing short-term vehicle loans. Proposals also include opening up 20,000 parking spaces that will be free for EVs, while also prioritising those vehicles in traffic flow.
Bristol, meanwhile, will use £7 million to give ULEVs special access to carpool lanes and to introduce a new plug-in car leasing scheme. Nottinghamshire and Derby will use £6 million to install an extra 230 charging points and offer owners of ULEVs discounted parking, as well as allowing local businesses to try out using ULEVs for their fleets.
The remainder of the funding, £5 million, will be used to kick-start EV projects in Dundee, Oxford, York and the North East, where the government wants to see “a country-wide clean motoring revolution”. Plans include new charging ‘hubs’ in Dundee and a solar-powered park and ride system in York.
The funding was announced by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who 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 I am proud to back this ambition with £40 million to help the UK become an international pioneer 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 £600 million 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.”
The head of Go Ultra Low, Poppy Welch, said the extra funding would “transform the roads for residents in and around the 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.”
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles has pledged to provide £600 million of funding before 2020. Around £400 million of that funding will be used for plug-in car grants, investment in low-emissions buses and taxis and research and development.
The Go Ultra Low campaign says the uptake of electric vehicles in the UK increased by 94% in 2015, compared with the previous year. The group wants to increase the number of plug-in vehicles on UK roads by around 100,000 by 2020. Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that a total of 72,775 alternatively fuelled vehicles (which includes hybrids and EVs) were registered in the UK last year, up by 40% on 2014's numbers.