UK sees rapid growth in ULEV usage

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Three new car manufacturers have joined the UK Government’s ‘Go Ultra Low’ campaign, which is aimed at increasing awareness of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) among the country’s car buyers. Audi, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen have joined BMW, Nissan, Renault and Toyota to work with government to raise awareness of the benefits of ULEVs, including low running costs and government incentives. The Go Ultra Low campaign is the first of its kind, bringing together the Department for Transport (DfT), the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), and the consortium of seven car manufacturers. UK Transport Minister, Baroness Kramer, said, “The public are increasingly seeing the benefits of ultra-low emission vehicles, which have low running costs and are easily chargeable at home or on the street. We now have seven manufacturers campaigning to show the wide range of styles and prices available, so even more people will see what’s on offer, and the significant government help available.”

Earlier this week, the government announced that the popularity of ULEVs is continuing to rise sharply, with more than 25,000 plug-in car and van grant claims submitted since the scheme began in 2010. Originally announced in April 2014, vehicles in all categories will continue to be eligible for the full grant of up to £5,000 (US$7,700) for a car or £8,000 (US$12,330) towards the purchase of a van, until either 50,000 grants are issued or 2017, whichever is first. Even the traditionally quiet January sales market saw nearly 2,000 claims and total ULEV sales in 2014 were four times the level of the previous year. According to figures from the SMMT, ULEV registrations in 2014 grew to 14,518 cars. The UK is now ahead of France and Germany in ULEV take-up, placing the country at the forefront of ‘green’ car technology. The acceleration in popularity is matched by the growing number of ULEV models on the market, with 25 car and seven van models eligible for the plug-in grant. A further 40 ULEV models from major manufacturers are expected to come to market over the next 3 years.

With the number of plug-in vehicles in the UK accelerating, companies are increasingly adopting ULEVs and are also likely to experience a rise in employees wanting to re-charge when they reach their place of work. With over 10,000 charge points already installed, Chargemaster is the largest UK supplier of public and workplace charging units in the country, and is now offering companies a simple package to get a 7kW charge point installed. The company is also offering discounts on multiple charging units and can provide 22kW units for workplaces with 3-phase power supplies. David Martell, CEO of Chargemaster, said, “It is great to see an increasing number of consumers and businesses investing in electric vehicles. However, to make the most of these vehicles, workplaces really need to have fit-for-purpose charging points, both for their own electric vehicle fleets, and for employees who choose to drive plug-in vehicles.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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