Eight cities in the UK, including London, Milton Keynes and Bristol, will receive a share of £40 million to support and develop their electric vehicle infrastructures
Darren Moss
25 January 2016

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.

Our Verdict

BMW i3
Two versions of the BMW i3 are on sale: a pure electric model or a range-extender variant

BMW makes waves with Europe’s first premium-brand compact EV

Join the debate


25 January 2016
The world will certainly be a much cleaner and quieter place by 2040 if EVs are widespread, but *every* car? I love electric cars, but only one drivetrain technology would be boring. Keep the sportscars drinking petrol, please.

25 January 2016
In the meantime, the educational initiatives may sound lame, but they could actually be very helpful. A lot of people are intimidated by such a radically different ownership proposition, and misinformation and ignorant blustering are everywhere (cue Norma Smellons).

Even if non-owners just knew how to navigate the charging network or who to contact for a home socket installation, that confidence could facilitate a lot more EV uptake. Plus, not everyone's aware of the massive savings, fast acceleration or low CoG.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Honda Civic
    Car review
    21 April 2017
    Honda’s 10th-generation Civic hatchback goes global — but is that good news?
  • Toyota Prius Plug-in
    First Drive
    21 April 2017
    Second-generation Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid gets a bigger battery with new 39-mile electric range, more tech and styling updates, but it's expensive
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 EcoTSI 150 DSG
    First Drive
    20 April 2017
    Addition of DSG automatic gearbox in this top-spec model doesn't show the Ateca small SUV in its best light
  • Isuzu D-Max Blade
    First Drive
    20 April 2017
    Isuzu treats its rough-and-ready D-Max pick-up truck to a new engine, revised looks, better hauling ability and more equipment
  • MG ZS
    First Drive
    19 April 2017
    We drive MG’s upcoming Ford Ecosport rival in China-spec; good looks and a smart interior bode well for the UK version