Government launches Road to Zero Strategy

Government confirms ambition to see at least half of new cars to be ultra low emission by 2030 as Road to Zero Strategy released.

  • strategy sets out ambition for at least 50% — and as many as 70% — of new car sales to be ultra low emission by 2030, alongside up to 40% of new vans
  • government will take steps to enable massive roll-out of infrastructure to support electric vehicle revolution
  • strategy sets the stage for the biggest technology advancement to hit UK roads since the invention of the combustion engine

The government has confirmed its ambition to see at least half of new cars to be ultra low emission by 2030 as part of plans to make the UK the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle.

The proposals are outlined in the Road to Zero Strategy, which sets out plans to enable a massive expansion of green infrastructure across the country, reduce emissions from the vehicles already on the UK’s roads, and drive the uptake of zero emission cars, vans and trucks.

Together, the measures will put the UK at the forefront of a global revolution in motoring and help to deliver cleaner air, a better environment and a strong clean economy.

The Road to Zero Strategy will help the government to achieve key elements of its modern Industrial Strategy — leading the industries of the future and building the UK’s competitiveness in the face of major global economic trends.

And the government will further look to prepare for and capitalise on the opportunities which will arise from the profound changes in how people, goods and services move around the country through its ‘Future of mobility grand challenge’.

As set out in the government’s Air quality plan, the UK will end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040. The Road to Zero Strategy will build on this commitment and outlines how government will work with industry to support achieving this.

The government will work alongside industry, businesses, academia, consumer groups, devolved administrations, environmental groups, local government and international partners to enable the deployment of one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world and prepare for a greener future for the UK’s roads.

Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, said:

The coming decades are going to be transformative for our motor industry, our national infrastructure and the way we travel. We expect to see more change in the transport sector over the next 10 years than we have in the previous century.

We are expecting our economy and society to experience profound change, which is why we have marked the Future of mobility as one of the 4 grand challenges as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.

The Road to Zero Strategy sets out a clear path for Britain to be a world leader in the zero emission revolution – ensuring that the UK has cleaner air, a better environment and a stronger economy.

The government‘s mission, as part of the modern Industrial Strategy, is to put the UK at the forefront of an industry that is estimated to be worth up to £7.6 trillion per year by 2050.

The Road to Zero Strategy is 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.

The government has already committed to investing £1.5 billion in ultra low emission vehicles by 2020 and the Road to Zero Strategy outlines a number of ambitious measures including:

  • a push for chargepoints to be installed in newly built homes, where appropriate, and new lampposts to include charging points, potentially providing a massive expansion of the plug-in network
  • the launch of a £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund to help accelerate the roll-out of charging infrastructure by providing funding to new and existing companies that produce and install charge points. The request for proposal to appoint a fund manager will be launched in the summer
  • creating a new £40 million programme to develop and trial innovative, low cost wireless and on-street charging technology
  • providing up to £500 for electric vehicle owners to put in a charge point in their home through the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme. And an increase in the value of grants available to workplaces to install chargepoints so people can charge when they are at work
  • the extension of the Plug-In Car and Van Grants to at least October 2018 at current rates, and in some form until at least 2020, allowing consumers to continue to make significant savings when purchasing a new electric vehicle
  • the launch of an Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce to bring together the energy and automotive industries to plan for the increase in demand on energy infrastructure that will result from a rise in the use of electric vehicles

The initiatives will set the stage for the mass uptake of ultra low emission vehicles. The government is also taking powers through the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill to ensure chargepoints are easily accessed and used across the UK, available at motorway service areas and large fuel retailers and will be smart ready.

The government expects the transition to be led by industry and consumers and a review of the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles will take place in 2025 to consider what interventions are required if not enough progress is being made.

The UK will be hosting the world’s first Zero Emission Vehicle summit this year in Birmingham. This event will bring together policy makers, industry experts and opinion formers from around globe to tackle carbon emissions and to explore ways to improve air quality.

We are creating a new £40 million programme to develop and trial innovative, low cost wireless and on-street charging technology. UK business can apply for innovation grants to design, develop and deploy innovative electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

We are also announcing the winners of the 14th Low Carbon Vehicle Innovation competition. The winners have been awarded a share of a £20 million pot to accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles, with a focus on innovative low carbon HGV technologies.

There are already more than 150,000 ultra-low emission vehicles on British roads and the UK is already leading the way in research, engineering and design, a skilled and flexible labour force and a welcoming business environment.

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