Up to £10 million for accelerated deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in U.K.


Peter Mandelson,
U.K. Business
London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — July 17, 2009 – As part of its low carbon industrial strategy the British government is to provide up to £10 million in funding for the accelerated deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure as well as the establishment of an Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) that will drive policy delivery.

This funding is aimed at supporting infrastructure in a number of U.K. cities and building on a previously announced £20 million to tackle barriers in electric vehicle charging infrastructure through the “Plugged in Places” electric vehicle infrastructure framework. It will also complement £230 million to be made available from 2011 to reduce the price to consumers of electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

The low carbon industrial strategy for the U.K., which was released as part of the country’s low carbon transition plan, forms part of the government’s plans to meet the nation’s climate change targets, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 (see Commitment to smart meters and future smart grid in U.K.).

The strategy identifies a range of low carbon sectors with potential for job creation and growth. In addition to ultra-low carbon vehicles these include wave and tidal power, civil nuclear power, offshore wind, renewable construction materials and renewable chemicals. Funding of up to £230 million is being made available for these sectors, as the first investments out of £405 million allocated for low carbon industries and advanced green manufacturing in the country’s 2009 budget.

The strategy says that the move to alternatively powered vehicles is dependent on a new charging infrastructure. The relative simplicity of first generation electric charging infrastructure provides low barriers to market entry and there are considerable opportunities for early movers. However, at present, charging infrastructure is not the core activity of any established industry and new players are needed to build this market.

Britain will aim to be among the first to provide sufficient infrastructure for large scale vehicle fleets, promises the strategy.

“Low carbon and environmental goods and services are already worth £3 trillion to the global economy, and in the U.K. employ nearly 900,000 directly and through the supply chain,” commented Business Secretary Peter Mandelson at the launch of the strategy. “With the sector set to grow by over 4 percent per annum over the next six years we must ensure that we equip businesses and the workforce with the capabilities and skills to take advantage of the potential benefits as the world moves towards a low carbon future.”

In addition to the funding to support the installation of the charging infrastructure, the government says it will continue to work with partners such as the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). The ETI is expected to announce soon the first phase of its Plug-in Vehicle Economics and Infrastructure project, worth up to £3 million, which will develop a roadmap to help the planning of infrastructure deployment and the understanding of how a sustainable economic environment can be created in the longer term. Future phases of the project will include consumer trials.

The government also says that in total, the policy measures recently announced now provide direct investment of over £400 million for the development of ultra-low carbon vehicles in Britain.

Among these are plans to trial approximately 340 electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on U.K. roads within the next six to eighteen months (see Electric vehicles to trial on U.K. roads).