Government EV plans accelerate on first-ever World Electric Vehicle Day

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Charge points at supermarkets and popular tourist sites and batteries that could charge in six minutes could all be a part of the government electric vehicle uptake strategy, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today, on the first-ever World EV Day.

Recommendations in a government-commissioned report by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles also include consistent and clear public signage for drivers on UK roads, and guidance to local authorities on painting EV parking spaces green.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps commented on the plans: “Whether you’re taking a trip with the family or commuting to work, with the wide range of models at competitive prices, it is now more cost-effective and convenient than ever to drive and charge an electric vehicle.

“This, together with our continued support for research and development, will see talented UK-based SMEs flourish, as well as more than 6,000 skilled jobs created up and down the country.

“This is why, on the world’s first-ever day dedicated to celebrating electric vehicles, I’m delighted to announce our unwavering support for a cleaner, greener transport future.”

Further steps to decarbonise road transport have been taken by the government, with £12 million in funding for research and development investment to support a series of competitions for some of the most promising EV technologies.

These competitions have included the Catalysing Green Innovation and Niche Vehicle Network competitions, where winners have been recently announced.

Together with Innovate UK, the funding will support a range of projects designed to open up significant commercial opportunities, one of which could see cars of the future benefit from a six-minute battery charge.

The Department for Transport has also worked closely with Autotrader to develop a dedicated EV section on their website to help potential EV purchasers with their decision, with more sites expected to follow.

Ian Plummer, Director at Auto Trader, commented: “Range anxiety, charging infrastructure and costs remain the primary barriers to adoption of electric vehicles.

“Therefore, in a bid to help consumers and alleviate some of their concerns, we relaunched our electric vehicle hub with new editorial content and improved search functionality.

“The hub features specialist content and car reviews to help educate consumers and arm them with what they need to know about zero-emission cars, as well as helping to alleviate any concerns they might have.

“This, combined with improved search filters on Auto Trader for things like battery range and charging time, and displaying key information such as battery range more prominently on vehicle adverts on the marketplace, helps to make buying an electric vehicle easier.”

A £9.3 million scheme launched by Highways England will allow businesses to try electric vehicles for free before they buy.

The initiative is designed to encourage drivers to shift to cleaner, lower-carbon vehicles and will see local authorities encouraging businesses with diesel van fleets to make the switch to electric.

Highways England Chief Executive, Jim O’Sullivan, commented: “We’re pleased to be working with councils across the country to encourage businesses to make the switch to electric, and we expect many more to start using electric vehicles when they see the savings possible.”

As part of the transport electrification efforts, green number plates were announced to be rolled out this Autumn.

Business and Industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi added: “From multi-million-pound investments in electric vehicle charging points to consulting on ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, we’re making certain that the future of UK transport is green.

“World Electric Vehicle day is a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come as we make strides towards our world-beating net-zero climate target.”