The UK government will invest £500m to increase electric vehicle uptake and advance infrastructure to make electric driving viable and convenient.
Part of the funding package will go towards grants helping users to buy electric vehicles. The funding will represent an extension of an existing programme which allows businesses to ask for up to £5,000 to cover costs of an electric vehicle. The program is now expected to run until 2017 or until at least 50,000 grants, worth £200m, will have been claimed.
Cities interested in obtaining an ‘ultra-low city status’ can apply with their plans and win a share of £35m to fund a green overhaul.
Further £100m will be invested into research and development of ultra-low emission vehicles in a bid the make the UK a world-leader in the green-vehicle industry.
"Our economy is growing thanks to sectors like our thriving automotive industry that are helping repair and rebalance the economy, building a fairer society for this generation and the next,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, announcing the funding programme that will run between 2015 to 2020
"Owning an electric car is no longer a dream or an inconvenience. Manufacturers are turning to this new technology to help motorists make their everyday journeys green and clean,” he said.
As part of the programme, the charging infrastructure should be improved and new chargers installed along busy routes to reduce the range anxiety of the drivers. The £32m funding package includes plans to deploy rapid chargepoints, capable of fully charging conventional electric vehicles in as little as 20 minutes, across the motorway and A-road network by 2020.
"Ultra-low emission vehicles bring together our most successful manufacturing sectors with our biggest long-term challenge - climate change,” said Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.
"Britain can be the leading country in the world in developing, manufacturing and using ULEVs. This half billion pound Government investment will help to ensure we rise to the challenge."
Greenpeace Chief Scientist Doug Parr welcomed the announcement: “As the first oil arrives from the fragile Arctic, there has never been a better time to push our vehicles towards going low carbon. Not only does this investment boost Britain’s clean tech sector and maintain our leading position in an expanding global market, but in the long run it will help us stop poisoning our cities and trashing the environment for oil."