The government is investing £1.5bn by 2020 in a number of “ambitious” measures to pave the way for ultra low emission vehicles, including charging points in new homes and lampposts.
The measures were outlined in the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) new Road to Zero Strategy report.
In the report, the DfT says it is making a push for electric vehicle charge points to be installed in new homes and new lampposts which it said could provide “a massive expansion” of the plug-in network.
Grants will also be made available to install charging points in existing houses and workplaces.
The government confirmed that it wants at least half of new cars classed as ultra low emission by 2030, part of plans to make the UK the “best place in the world” to build and own an electric vehicle.
Measures also include the launch of a £400M charging infrastructure investment fund to accelerate the roll-out of charging infrastructure by offering cash to help companies produce and install charge points.
Street charging is also to receive a £40M boost with a new programme to develop and trial innovative, low cost wireless and on-street charging technology.
The DfT said the strategy was technology neutral and did not say which technologies might help to deliver the government’s 2040 mission. It added that the government had no plans to ban any particular technology, such as hybrids, as part of the strategy.
The government launched its air quality plan in July last year. In it, it said the UK would end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling 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 four grand challenges as part of our modern industrial strategy.”
Campaign group ClientEarth said that although the report is ambitious in tone, and contained a welcome policy for the development of charging infrastructure, it fell short when setting out the details.
ClientEarth lawyer Katie Nield said: “This strategy overlooks some key opportunities the government has to bring down the illegal levels of air pollution across the country. The ban on selling anything other than ultra-low emission vehicles by 2040 and the interim targets revealed today, for example, seem to ignore that the government was ordered to clean up the air as soon as possible.
“We should be looking for ways to help people and businesses to move to cleaner forms of transport now.”
She welcomed the government’s commitment to increase investment in charging infrastructure, but said this alone would not make the difference.
“We need a range of fiscal incentives that go well beyond the short extension to the existing plug-in car and van grant, which provides some financial support to purchase electric and hybrid vehicles. This will be key to improving take-up of zero emission vehicles.
“For example, the government could reform vehicle excise duty in favour of zero emission vehicles, and reform current company car tax structure to incentivise companies to buy these vehicles now.”