The UK Government has announced its Road to Zero strategy, the measures it will implement to achieve aims of becoming a world leader in developing, manufacturing, and using zero-emission vehicles.
That includes aims of seeing at least 50% – and an aim of 70% – of new car sales by 2030 to be made up of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs), alongside 40% of new vans. By 2050, the government wants almost every car and van to be zero-emission.
The strategy includes provision to push for all newly built homes to be installed with EV charge points where appropriate – whether there are EV drivers about to move in or not – and all new lamp-posts to be fitted with EV charge points too, dramatically increasing on-street charging provision.
A £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will be launched to help accelerate the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure, providing funding to new and existing companies that produce and install charge points.
£40 million will be spent on a programme to develop and trial low-cost wireless and on-street EV charging technology. The continuation of up to £500 to EV owners to put a charge point in at home – part of the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) has also been announced. The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) will be expanded to provide greater funding for businesses and organisations to install charge points at their sites.
Also announced was the launch of an Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce, which will bring together energy and automotive industries to plan for the increased demand in electricity continued uptake of electric vehicles will bring.
The strategy also makes reference to the existing plans to continue the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) in its current form until at least October 2018, and in some form until at least 2020.
The UK’s Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill is also mentioned, since there is some overlap in aims. As such, the bill’s expected inclusion of provision of rapid charge points at all major fuel retailers, and easier access for all, are elements that support the Road to Zero strategy. The Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill has been discussed by both houses, and is now proceeding to Royal Assent.
Something that has not been made clear yet though is the regulations that will underpin the UK’s 2040 ban of new petrol and diesel cars. The Road to Zero strategy does state that part of its mission is “for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040”, and that by that date, “we expect the majority of new cars and vans sold to be 100% zero emission and all new cars and vans to have significant zero emission capability”.
This would shore up expectations that conventional hybrids will not be exempt from the ban, but plug-in hybrids with a reasonable electric-only range will be allowed. Quite how ‘significant’ a zero-emission range is in terms of miles though, is yet to be clarified.
The strategy does state at a high level that the plans are “technology neutral and does not speculate on which technologies might help to deliver the government’s 2040 mission. The government has no plan to ban any particular technology – like hybrids – as part of this strategy.”