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Exemplars in the electric car revolution

Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, provides an update of the several innovative electric vehicle (EV) and chargepoint connection schemes taking place across the country.

Month after month, we are seeing record levels of electric car and van registrations, demonstrating that public appetite for plug-in EVs is rapidly growing. Go Ultra Low recently revealed that UK car buyers registered more electric and plug-in hybrid cars in the first half of 2017 than in any other six-monthly period (22,480 plug-in car registrations from January to June 2017). 

Go Ultra Low data from Chargemaster shows that over 90% of electric car drivers charge up at home. The government’s Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which provides EV drivers with a grant of up to £500 off the price of installing a dedicated domestic chargepoint, has been vital in helping consumers install chargepoints at home. The government has also allocated £7.5m to the Workplace Charging Scheme, as well as creating a £2.5m residential on-street infrastructure fund for local authorities to provide assistance to those without dedicated off-street parking.

However, the public network is important for those who need to travel further afield. There are now over 13,500 chargepoint connections across the country, and the UK has the largest rapid chargepoint network in Europe.

To help further, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles announced last year the winners of its pioneering Go Ultra Low Cities scheme. Four ‘exemplar cities’ – Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Bristol and London – were awarded a share of £35m of government funding to trial and implement innovative schemes that will increase and sustain EV uptake in their regions.

These exemplar cities proposed plans that will help encourage thousands of people to consider switching to a plug-in car. These proposals will support the UK’s thriving green vehicle sector, improve conditions in areas with poor air quality and help the government meet emissions targets.

Initiatives include rapid-charging hubs and street lighting that incorporate chargepoints, along with a range of innovative ideas that will give plug-in car owners extra local privileges, such as access to bus and car share lanes in city centres. Around 25,000 free parking spaces will be reserved for electric car owners, potentially saving EV-driving commuters as much as £1,300 a year.

The scheme also provided an additional £5m of development funding for specific initiatives in Dundee, Oxford, York and the north east to put their regions at the forefront of infrastructure development in the UK. New commuter charging hubs in Dundee will open up links across the region for plug-in vehicle owners (read more on page 71), while solar-canopied park-and-ride hubs in York will help reduce air pollution in and around the city.

The goal is for these regions to become exemplars for the rest of the UK and Europe on how to boost awareness and uptake of plug-in vehicles in towns and cities.

In total, the government has committed to invest more than £600m to support further uptake of ultra-low-emission vehicles, including ongoing support for the Plug-in Car Grant, Workplace Charging Scheme, and the Go Ultra Low Cities initiative. The electric car revolution certainly shows no signs of slowing down, and the continued growth and investment in the charging infrastructure will support this rapid growth.




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