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£100 million from government for green vehicles

Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon has set out the next steps across Government to deliver a £100 million commitment to accelerate the emergence of the greener vehicles of tomorrow. As part of this, 100 electric cars will be provided in UK towns and cities to allow families and other motorists the opportunity to feedback the practical steps needed to make greener motoring an everyday reality.

Motor manufacturers will be invited to bid for the opportunity to participate in a £10 million project to run electric car and ultra low carbon vehicle demonstration projects, overseen by the Technology Strategy Board.

At the same time, up to £20m has been dedicated to UK research into improving technology that could make electric and other green cars more practical and affordable.

The new initiatives to put Britain at the forefront of a green motoring revolution by encouraging a mass market in electric and hybrid cars were announced at an International Experts Meeting.

With the potential to create up to 10,000 new British jobs and help preserve many thousands more, this comes as part of wider Government plans to make the most of the low carbon economy, with estimates that around a million green jobs could be generated by 2030.

Fulfilling Gordon Brown’s pledge this summer to speed up the delivery of low carbon and electric vehicles for ordinary motorists, experts from across the globe were gathered in Whitehall to examine how to turn this into a reality.

He said: “Electric cars and other low carbon vehicles, like plug-in hybrids, cut fuel costs and reduce harmful emissions. If we can inspire more people to use them, it will help us to make a positive impact on climate change.

“Alongside this, their research and manufacture is an emerging industry with the potential to create new jobs and safeguard existing employment in the UK. Therefore exploring how to ensure they are a practical and affordable everyday option makes sense all round. That is what the cross Government package of measures announced will do.”

This follows the publication of important new research which concludes that, correctly managed, the UK power system could support widespread use of electric cars and their charging needs without requiring large numbers of new power stations.

Secretary of State for Business, Lord Mandelson, said: “Investment in greener motoring forms part of our plan to put the UK at the forefront of the new low carbon revolution. We know our automotive sector has a global reputation for taking forward new technology and we want the UK to be at the heart of new developments in electric vehicles.

“In the recent Manufacturing Strategy we made clear our determination to support the next generation of low carbon cars and today we are delivering on our promises. Work will continue next year when we produce our low carbon industrial strategy.”

Lord Drayson, Minister of State for Science and Innovation, added: “The technologies for low carbon vehicles are developing fast, whether for all-electric, hybrid or alternative fuels. The challenge for the UK is to ensure industry takes full advantage of this shift and explores opportunities now, to position itself as a world leader in low carbon vehicle technology in the long term.

“To do this, the Government-funded Technology Strategy Board is providing further investment of up to £30m to support industry R&D and demonstrations of electric and other low carbon vehicles. This investment will accelerate the development of these vehicles and bring benefits to UK businesses and, ultimately, help to meet the UK’s emissions targets.”

The Government has already committed to removing the barriers that could slow a changeover to greener motoring. This includes a commitment to facilitate the roll-out of charging infrastructure through the planning system and to collaborating with other countries to develop international standards and consider how best to encourage the right consumer market to promote electric and other low carbon vehicles.

Work also continues with energy companies and the National Grid to assess the impact on the electricity system of the widespread use of electric drive vehicles.

To encourage the mass production of green vans for the first time, the Department for Transport also announced today that 10 companies have been shortlisted to bid to provide electric and low carbon vans to some councils and other public sector bodies, like the Royal Mail, as part of a £20m programme to ensure all road transport emissions are reduced. Liverpool, Newcastle, Gateshead, Coventry, Glasgow and Leeds will be among the first councils to trial green vans on their streets.

The 10 companies are: Ford; Mercedes Benz; Citroen; Ashwoods; Land Rover, Modec; Smiths; Electric Vehicles; LDV; Nissan and Allied Vehicles.

Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon added: “Vans make up around 15% of road transport emissions in the UK, and their emissions are rising more than any other mode of road transport.

“That’s why we are committed to this new programme to help kick-start the market. In the public sector there is considerable demand for vans so we want to use our spending power to lead the way in developing lower carbon options that will appeal across the board.”

The new competitions are funded by the Technology Strategy Board’s Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform (LCVIP). The next phase of the LCVIP is a £100m programme over 5 years with funding coming from the Technology Strategy Board (£20m), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (£10m) and Department for Transport (£10m). Major contributions have also been received from two Regional Development Agencies – the Advantage West Midlands (£30m) and One North East (£30m).

The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the government. Its role is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of life. It is sponsored by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS).

The ultra low carbon vehicle demonstration competition aims to see up to 100 new innovative cars on the road in several locations around the UK by the end of 2009. This competition has up to £10m of funding available and will provide a portion of the costs for business led demonstration projects of vehicles with tailpipe emissions of 50g CO2/km or less and a significant electric only range. Applications will be requested in January 2009. The Technology Strategy Board aims to announce the successful projects in March.

To ensure that this demonstration fully considers the attitudes of consumers, the Technology Strategy Board will undertake a series of public dialogue initiatives. DIUS will provide support to this activity through the Sciencewise ERC, providing the networking across Government to ensure that the views of consumers are taken into account in the development of Government policy in this area.

The Energy Technologies Institute will then hold a stakeholder workshop in December, to develop a second wave of demonstrations focused on understanding the requirements of the charging infrastructure, building on the early pilots of 100 innovative cars tested by ordinary motorists.

The electrification of road transport has been identified by stakeholders as a critical area of research and development to achieve a longer term vision of decarbonisation. The research competition (into improving technology to make green cars more affordable) provides up to £10m for business led collaborative research and development to support projects in all areas relevant to the development of enabling system and sub-system technologies to deliver more cost effective and higher performing all-electric and hybrid vehicles for mass market applications. Applications will be invited from 19th January 2009 with a deadline for expressions of interest of 26th February 2009 – project decisions will be expected in May 2009.

The second research competition (launched by the Technology Strategy Board) is an open technology competition for wider collaborative projects covering all vehicle technologies capable of delivering large scale carbon reductions in the coming decades. This competition will have between £5 and £10m available and applications will be invited from June 2009 with project decisions expected in November 2009. Further detail on these two competitions will be available on the Technology Strategy Board website –

A third element of research activity provides funding for the underpinning basic university-led research on lower carbon vehicle technology. This will support research relevant to lower carbon vehicles, which could potentially be taken forward into collaborative research and development activity in the future. Next year the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council will be committing £3m towards academic-led research within the Integrated Delivery Programme remit. Further details of the call and any priorities will be available when the call is announced.

BERR and the Department for Transport commissioned a study by Cenex – the UK Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell – technologies and engineering consultants Arup into the electrification of road transport. This study considers a wide range of issues relevant to the development and roll out of electric vehicles. The study will be published on BERR’s website:

Low Carbon Cars: Exploring the Challenge of bringing Electric Vehicles to Market International Experts’ Meeting was arranged by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and the Department for Transport (DfT).

The Department for Transport’s low carbon vehicle procurement programme is a £20m programme to support the demonstration and use of lower carbon vehicles in the public sector. The programme, which is managed by Cenex, is initially focussed on vans. The 10 companies shortlisted to bid to supply both lower carbon (more fuel efficient) and all-electric vans to the public sector are Ford; Mercedes Benz; Citroen; Ashwoods and Land Rover for lower carbon vans, and Modec; Smiths; Electric Vehicles; LDV; Nissan; Allied Vehicles for all electric vans.

Local authorities in Liverpool, Newcastle & Gateshead, Coventry, Leeds and Glasgow have been selected to participate in the first phase of the programme. All have been selected following a fully competitive UK-wide process. These local authorities are added to the existing six initial public sector organisations involved in the programme which have already been announced and are: Royal Mail; H M Revenue & Customs; Metropolitan Police; Transport for London; Environment Agency; Government Car and Despatch Agency.