Eight cities have been awarded a multi-million pound investment from Government to increase uptake of electric vehicles. Bristol, London, Milton Keynes and Nottingham were named as ’Go Ultra Low Cities’ and the main benefactors of the £40 million scheme, with Dundee, the North East, Oxford and York sharing seed funding for EV specific projects.
Cities secured funding by pledging innovative ideas and as part of the initiative will deliver a roll-out of cutting edge technology, such as rapid-charging hubs and street lighting that can double as charging points, along with a range of proposals that will give plug-in car owners further local privileges such as access to bus lanes in city centres.
The plug-in revolution is well underway already, with 2015’s electric car registrations up 94% compared to the previous year. The initiatives proposed by the Go Ultra Low Cities are set to boost plug-in car numbers by around 100,000 across the UK by 2020, with these cities acting as best practice case studies for other UK regions to echo.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “These Go Ultra Low Cities have proposed exciting, innovative ideas that will encourage drivers to choose an electric car. I want to see thousands more greener vehicles on our roads and I am proud to back this ambition with £40 million to help the UK become international pioneers of emission cutting technology.
“The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and our long-term economic plan is investing £600 million by 2020 to improve air quality, create jobs and achieve our goal of every new car and van in the UK being ultra-low emission by 2040.”
Go Ultra Low City initiatives
Among the successful cities’ bids, London is awarded £13 million to create ‘Neighbourhoods of the Future’, prioritising ULEVs in several boroughs across the capital. Proposals include Low Emission Zones that offer parking and traffic priority to owners of plug-in vehicles.
Milton Keynes will receive £9 million to open a city centre Electric Vehicle Experience Centre, a ‘one stop shop’ providing consumer advice and short-term vehicle loans. The city also proposes to open up all 20,000 parking bays for free to EVs, give plug-in vehicles the same priority at traffic lights as local buses, while also having access to bus lanes.
With a £7 million grant secured, Bristol will give ULEVs access to three carpool lanes in the city and introduce a plug-in car leasing scheme. Nottinghamshire and Derby will use £6 million of funding to install 230 charge points and offer plug-in owners discount parking, plus access to bus lanes in key routes across the city. The investment will also pay for a new business support programme letting local companies ‘try before they buy’.
The scheme is also providing £5 million of development funding for specific initiatives in Dundee, Oxford, York and North East regions to help them play their part in kick-starting a country-wide clean motoring revolution. New commuter charging hubs in Dundee will open up links across the region for plug-in vehicle owners, while solar-canopied Park and Ride hubs in York will help reduce air pollution in and around the city.
Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low said: “We’re excited to see the innovative ideas put forward by each of the winning Go Ultra Low cities become reality over the coming months. The £40 million investment by government, combined with funds from each winning area, will transform the roads for residents in and around the Go Ultra Low cities.
“With thousands more plug-in cars set to be sold, cutting running costs for motorists and helping the environment, this investment will help to put the UK at the forefront of the global ultra-low emissions race. Initiatives such as customer experience centres, free parking, permission to drive in bus lanes and hundreds of new, convenient public charging locations are sure to appeal to drivers and inspire other cities and local authorities to invest in the electric revolution.”
The Go Ultra Low Cities fund is just one element of a comprehensive £600 million package of measures from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles by 2020, which also includes £400 million of guaranteed money for individual plug-in car grants, investment in low emission buses and taxis and R&D funding for innovative technology such as lighter vehicles and longer-lasting car batteries.
Go Ultra Low exists to help motorists understand the benefits, cost savings and capabilities of the raft of ultra low emission vehicles on the market. The collaborative campaign is the first of its kind, bringing together a consortium of leading vehicle manufacturers, Government and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Further details are available at www.goultralow.com.