Transport Minister Norman Baker has launched the Government's strategy to drive forward the ultra-low emission vehicles industry.
The new strategy signals a major change in the way vehicles will be powered in the future and reaffirms the Government's commitment to provide new opportunities for the motor industry to help grow the UK economy.
The Minister launched Driving the Future Today - A strategy for ultra low emission vehicles in the UK during his visit to the annual Low Carbon Vehicle exhibition in Bedfordshire.
Baker said: "These are exciting times for the motoring industry as ultra low emission vehicles are the future for road travel. Our vision is that by 2050 almost every car and van will be an ultra low emission vehicle with the UK at the forefront of their design, development and manufacture. This strategy moves us up a gear in pursuing that vision.
"As well as huge opportunities for the automotive sector, this will bring life-changing benefits to our towns and cities improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions and it will provide energy security by reducing our reliance on foreign oil imports.
"We recently announced in our Action for Roads paper over £500 million of new capital investment between 2015 and 2020 to continue to support the development and adoption of ULEVs in the UK. We look forward to working with industry on how best to use this money to make the Government's vision a reality as quickly as possible."
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) is inviting industry to have a say through a call for evidence on how best to invest £500m of funding to drive the revolution and establish the UK as a premier market for ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs). The call for evidence will be launched shortly.
Business Minister Michael Fallon said: "The automotive industry provides thousands of high-quality jobs across the country and we are determined to keep it that way. By setting out the level of our financial support up to 2020 we are demonstrating our long-term commitment and giving business the confidence to invest.
"We will keep working in partnership with industry on where our investment can best drive growth as we support the transition to ultra low emission vehicles."
The Government's long term strategic approach will deliver:
- a growing fleet of, and private markets for, Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs);
- a network of charging points and other infrastructure making ULEVs an attractive proposition;
- the development of world class skills and facilities for the development of ULEV technologies leading to global export; and
- a smarter electricity grid to benefit vehicle owners and the electricity system.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: "The UK must be a lead producer and market for low and ultra-low carbon vehicles. We're pleased to see the Strategy set out a longer term approach to the incentives, policies and initiatives which are needed to create confidence for vehicle buyers and manufacturers. We strongly support the collaborative approach with our industry which will help to secure the UK's position as a leader in the development, production and use of ultra-low emission technologies."
Jim Wright, managing director of Nissan Motor GB said: "As the driving force behind the UK's electric vehicle market, Nissan has played a key role in shaping today's Strategy and we are proud to be working alongside government and other vehicle manufacturers to ensure that the zero emission market is accessible to all.
"Nissan continues to take the lion's share of EV sales worldwide, and earlier this year we launched the second generation LEAF with more than 100 enhancements designed to make all-electric driving more viable than ever before. We are pleased to see that the Government's Strategy sets out clear intentions that will help incentivise zero emission mobility in the UK and open up the EV market to thousands more motorists."