The future of the UK as a leader in the development and take-up of low emission vehicles has been given a boost with the government’s announcement of how the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) will spend its £500m funding allocation over the next five years.
Representing the UK motor industry, SMMT called on government to instigate a balanced approach to the 2015-2020 funding package, incorporating elements of consumer incentives, a strategic investment in infrastructure and increased R&D support. Furthermore, we asked that all parts of the road transport industry should benefit. The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Transport Minister Baroness Kramer delivered on this ask, announcing a package of measures which will help the UK lead the global shift to low and ultra-low carbon vehicles and technologies. It also provides crucial strategic opportunities for growth and jobs across the UK automotive industry.
The key features of the OLEV package are:
- £200m for the continuation of the Plug-in Car Grant, securing the government contribution of up to £5,000 towards the cost of qualifying, new ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).
- £30m to assist the purchase of other vehicles.
- £100m for R&D projects.
- £20m for taxi infrastructure and incentives.
- £30m for buses.
- £35m for a new city scheme.
- £32m on infrastructure (including for a rapid charging network).
- £4m for gas refuelling network for HCVs.
Speaking at the announcement, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented, “The move towards a low carbon vehicle future must be built around the three pillars of consumer incentives, strategically focused infrastructure and increased leverage for R&D support. We therefore welcome this announcement which reflects that balanced approach but, significantly, seek to incentivise technical developments in all segments of road transport, not just passenger cars.
“UK vehicle manufacturers are already committing significant investment to the UK’s ULEV ambitions through research, development and production of zero and low emission vehicles and technologies. This funding package will help secure additional private sector investment, but more needs to be done to support academic research in this area – as well as developing the skills that will be essential if the UK is to become a global leader in ultra-low emission technologies.”