Government backs innovation with multi-million pound package on World EV Day

The government has announced a range of initiatives on the first World EV Day to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles in businesses and homes.

If the financial support it plans delivers on promises, then drivers could be buying EV vehicles with batteries that charge in just 6 minutes.

Technical development is part of the £12 million funding package that the Department for Transport will deliver, in partnership with research & development agency Innovate UK. This will promote a series of competitions for some of the most promising EV technologies.

The government said that the “6-minute battery” was one of a range of pioneering projects that should spark significant commercial opportunities, as part of the much anticipated “green recovery” package.

Free EV trials

Government support for EV will see Highways England working with local authorities through a £9.3 million initiative to offer businesses with diesel van fleets a free trial of electric models for two months, building on the success of a pilot scheme with Leeds City Council earlier this year.

The national push for EV adoption has come at the right time for the market, as domestic consumers and businesses begin to turn towards electric transport in ever increasing numbers. EV charging solutions are economical and savings made on fuel costs can deliver rapid return on investment, while quality, long-lasting EV charging cables are now available.

Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England chief executive, said:

“We are working with councils across the country to encourage businesses to make the switch to electric vehicles and we expect many more to start using electric vehicles when they experience the savings possible. This is a key example of how we are using designated funds to benefit the environment and communities around our roads as well as the people travelling and working on them.”

The DfT is also working on other ways to boost EV adoption and remove the “fear barriers” around the technology, which needs to largely replace internal combustion engine vehicles within a decade to meet government carbon emissions targets.

Supermarket EV chargers

It is considering a series of policy recommendations from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), including charging points installed at popular destinations such as supermarkets and tourist sites, consistent and clear public signage for drivers on UK roads or guidance to local authorities on painting EV parking spaces green.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said:

“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 R&D, 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.”

The government also confirmed that it is working with Auto Trader to develop a specialist EV section on the brand’s website to help consumers understand and engage with the fast-expanding market.

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*Offers end Friday 11th September at midnight.

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