The strategy sets out plans to enable a massive expansion of green infrastructure across the country, reduce emissions from the vehicles already on the UK’s roads, and drive the uptake of zero emission cars, vans and trucks. The aim is to put the UK at the forefront of a global revolution in motoring and help to deliver cleaner air, a better environment and a strong clean economy.
The government previously announced its intention to end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 in its Air quality plan. The aim of the Road to Zero Strategy is to build on this commitment and outline how the government will work with industry to achieve this. It intends to work alongside industry, businesses, academia, consumer groups, devolved administrations, environmental groups, local government and international partners to enable the deployment of one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world and prepare for a greener future for the UK’s roads.
“The coming decades are going to be transformative for our motor industry, our national infrastructure and the way we travel” said Chris Grayling, UK Secretary of State for Transport. “We expect to see more change in the transport sector over the next 10 years than we have in the previous century. We are expecting our economy and society to experience profound change, which is why we have marked the Future of mobility as one of the 4 grand challenges as part of our modern Industrial Strategy. The Road to Zero Strategy sets out a clear path for Britain to be a world leader in the zero emission revolution - ensuring that the UK has cleaner air, a better environment and a stronger economy”.
The government’s mission, as part of its modern Industrial Strategy, is to put the UK at the forefront of an industry that is estimated to be worth up to £7.6 trillion per year by 2050.
The Road to Zero Strategy outlines a number of ambitious measures including the installation of chargepoints in newly built homes, where appropriate, and new lamp posts to include charging points, potentially providing a massive expansion of the plug-in network.
A £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will be launched to help accelerate the roll-out of charging infrastructure by providing funding to new and existing companies that produce and install charge points. The request for proposal to appoint a fund manager will be launched in the summer
A new £40 million programme will be established to develop and trial innovative, low cost wireless and on-street charging technology.
Incentives of up to £500 will be provided through the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme for electric vehicle owners to put in a charge point in their home. There will also be an increase in the value of grants available to workplaces to install chargepoints so people can charge when they are at work
Plug-In Car and Van Grants will be extended to at least October 2018 at current rates, and in some form until at least 2020, allowing consumers to continue to make significant savings when purchasing a new electric vehicle.
An Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce will be launched to bring together the energy and automotive industries to plan for the increase in demand on energy infrastructure that will result from a rise in the use of electric vehicles.
The government is also taking powers through the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill to ensure chargepoints are easily accessed and used across the UK, available at motorway service areas and large fuel retailers and will be smart ready. The government expects the transition to be led by industry and consumers and a review of the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles will take place in 2025 to consider what interventions are required if not enough progress is being made.
The UK will also be hosting the world’s first Zero Emission Vehicle summit this year in Birmingham. This event will bring together policy makers, industry experts and opinion formers from around globe to tackle carbon emissions and to explore ways to improve air quality.
Erik Fairbairn, CEO and Founder of Pod Point, the UK's largest independent chargepoint provider, broadly welcomed the government’s proposals but expressed disappointment at the lack of any mention of its previous announced intention to ban internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2040.
“The governments Road To Zero strategy shows the government's ongoing positive support of zero emission transport” Mr Fairbairn said. “In headline, the strategy shows some sensible proposals to increase the amount of EV charging infrastructure across the UK, with a good understanding of the need to rollout charging across homes, workplace, and public locations. The rollout of EV charging has been accelerating rapidly over the past couple of years, mainly through heavy investment from private companies such as Pod Point who are dedicated to building national infrastructure. It is good to see this additional support from the government, which will allow for further acceleration.
The strategy however is disappointing in that there is no movement on the Government’s 2040 ban of internal combustion vehicles. At Pod Point we see a clear path which would allow internal combustion vehicles to be banned in 2030, some ten years earlier.”
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