Department for Transport News

09 Sep 2020

Supercharging the future of driving this #WorldEVDay

Embargoed until 0001 on Wednesday 9 September

  • 12 million in funding announced to propel ground-breaking electric vehicle research projects on first World EV Day
  • Future government plans could see green coloured parking spaces, chargepoints at popular destinations and dedicated EV sites for buying and selling cars
  • Highways England to provide local authorities with £9.3million in funding to encourage businesses to switch to electric vans

Parking spaces painted green, chargepoints at supermarkets and popular tourist sites, and batteries that could charge in six minutes could all form part of the government’s ambitious plans to accelerate electric vehicle uptake, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced today on World EV Day (9 September).

The government is turbocharging its commitment to improving air quality, driving down emissions and encouraging drivers to make the switch to cleaner, greener vehicles through considering recommendations in a government commissioned report by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles. These include chargepoints 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.

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

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

The Department for Transport has also worked closely with Auto Trader, a popular site for buying and selling cars, to develop a dedicated EV section on their website to help potential EV purchasers with their decision, with more sites expected to follow.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps 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.”

A £9.3million 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.

Businesses will be offered a free trial of electric vehicles for two months, following a successful launch with Leeds City Council earlier in the year.

Highways England Chief Executive, Jim O’Sullivan,  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.” 

Ian Plummer, Director at Auto Trader said:

“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 make buying an electric vehicle easier.”

Business and Industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:

“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.”

Contact Information

Notes to editors

A feasibility study, commissioned by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), highlighted a range of behaviourally-informed measures with the highest potential to accelerate EV uptake, tackling a number of barriers such as affordability and perceived lack of charging infrastructure.

R&D funding

£10m in grant funding has been awarded to 62 projects through the Catalysing Green Innovation (CGI) competition, to develop zero emission vehicle technologies.

SMEs have been awarded £1.5m for 10 projects through the Niche Vehicle Network (NVN) Proof-of-Concept funding stream and a further £0.5m for feasibility study projects, which will be assessed towards the end of the year. 

The CORNEA project (Commercialisation Roadmap for Niobium xEv Anodes), led by Echion Technologies, will assess the commercial potential for a unique anode material technology which enables a safe 6-minute battery charge with long lifecycles combined with energy density and cost improvements. Battery costs are key to high EV prices and increasing charging speed and range will support our uptake ambitions.

Highways England Scheme

Following a successful launch with Leeds City Council earlier in the year, councils in Coventry, Kent, Nottingham, and Sheffield have all set up their own schemes. And today on World EV (Electric Vehicle) Day (9 September) the company has announced over £3 million of funding has been agreed with Bristol City Council.

The scheme has been made possible by Highways England’s Designated Funds programme designed to benefit people, the economy and the planet with an overall investment of £936m between 2020 and 2025.