As popularity for plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) grows, the UK Government has announced a further £43m (US$66.7m) of funding for EV infrastructure and plug-in vehicle research and development (R&D) projects. The government has set out £32m (US$49.6m) of infrastructure support, up to 2020, which will include a wave of chargepoint installations for homes, hospitals, train stations and A-roads across the country. Another £11m (US$17m) of investment will boost the UK’s position as a world leader in low emission vehicle technology innovation. The funding will be provided to 50 organizations across the country, ranging from small businesses to major universities, working together on 15 research and development projects, which include: the creation of a novel recycled carbon fiber material that will bring lightweight, low cost vehicle chassis structures to the mass market, which will be led by Gordon Murray Design Ltd; development of a zero emission electric bus with hydrogen fuel cell range extender at a fraction of the cost of the current generation of hydrogen buses to be led by Magtec; and a prototype zero-emission power and cooling system, adapted from a cutting-edge liquid nitrogen powered engine that will dramatically reduce the CO2 emissions from refrigerated trucks and air-conditioned buses, which will be led by Dearman Engine Company.
The infrastructure spending will include: £15m (US$23.3m) to continue the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, where ULEV drivers will receive a 75% grant of up to £700 (US$1,100) towards installation from April 13; £8m (US$12.4m) to support public charging infrastructure across the UK, which, alongside £15m (US$23.3m) Highways Agency funding announced in Autumn 2014, will deliver chargepoints on major roads and across towns and cities, with bidding for the schemes to open in May; and £9m (US$14m) to address other infrastructure priorities, such as ensuring that the UK’s world-class chargepoint network remains accessible and open for users.
Announcing the new funding during a visit to Nissan’s European technical development center in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, UK Transport Minister, Baroness Kramer, said, “The funding announced today marks another milestone in the government’s support for ultra-low emission vehicles as their popularity takes off. The public will find it even easier to charge their cars when they are out and about thanks to our £8 million commitment to support new chargepoints across key locations in our towns and cities. And we have today announced another £15 million to continue to back the rollout of convenient home chargepoints across the country. Our support to the ULEV industry will help ensure the innovation that is a hallmark of the British automotive industry will continue to drive development in this vital growth sector.”