More than £9 million of new cash has been allocated for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure as car manufacturers team up with the SMMT and the Government to give the market for plug-in vehicles renewed energy.
Announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Go Ultra Low sees Vauxhall, BMW, Nissan, Renault and Toyota join forces with the SMMT and the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to promote ultra-low emission vehicles collectively.
Clegg said the Government wanted to encourage new customers with a “long-term plan and clear objectives”.
He said no date had been set for the ending of subsidies for EVs, nor was there a target market share that would signify the EV market was strong enough to survive without government funding.
“Electric cars are one of the most promising of our green industries and we want to secure the UK’s position as a global leader in both the production and adoption of these vehicles,” said Clegg.
“The extremely low running costs of electric cars help drivers save money and we are allocating more than £9m to boost charge points across the country to help drivers to go green.
“This means we can lower emissions and create high-tech engineering and manufacturing jobs to boost our economy.”
The announcement was made by the Deputy Prime Minister at the Ace Cafe, North West London, where he met directors, staff and apprentices from BMW, Nissan, Renault, Toyota and Vauxhall.
The Government has approved £5.8m for rapid charging points, which would allow more motorway journeys to be completed using battery electric power.
BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “It’s encouraging to see the Government joining forces with the motor industry to showcase a range of attractive ultra-low emission vehicles.
“This campaign will raise awareness of the benefits of driving ultra-low emission vehicles and dispel many of the misconceptions.
“We expect it will boost demand for new and used electric cars and vans.”
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “The Go Ultra Low campaign will help the public understand how these new cars work and how they could be a perfect fit for their personal, business or fleet needs.
“Given the importance of running costs and environmental performance to new car buyers, we hope the campaign will encourage more people to consider going ultra low.”
Tim Abbott, managing director, BMW UK, said: “BMW is delighted to be a part of the Go Ultra Low campaign.
“The campaign is perfectly timed for us as it comes at a time we are launching some of the most innovative vehicles the industry has ever seen.
“BMW introduced a programme of EfficientDynamics, aimed at increased performance yet lower emissions and better fuel economy, back in 2007.
“In 2013 we launched the ultra low or zero emissions i3, so we have a product perfectly aligned to the campaign.”
Duncan Aldred, chairman and managing director, Vauxhall, said: “Vauxhall wholeheartedly supports the Go Ultra Low campaign.
“We’ve worked hard and invested millions in bringing to market exceptional products that are easy to live with and ultra-cheap to run.
“We now need to complete the story by raising awareness of these qualities and building an infrastructure in the UK that will enhance electric vehicle ownership.”
Ken Ramirez, managing director, Renault UK , said: “Renault is fully committed to reducing the CO2 of our products and was the first manufacturer to launch a range of 100% electric vehicles with Zoe, Kangoo ZE and Twizy.
“We very much welcome the UK Government’s support in helping to raise the awareness of ultra-low emission vehicles.
“We can see they are firmly committed in making the UK the global leader in the adoption of these vehicles.”
A Nissan spokesman said: “ we have worked tirelessly to establish a foothold for EV technology and make it both appealing and accessible to the masses.
“The fact that the Nissan Leaf has surpassed 3,000 sales in the UK and 100,000 worldwide demonstrates our message has been striking a chord with motorists.
“The Go Ultra Low campaign can serve only to increase awareness and consumer confidence in this technology.”
A Toyota/Lexus spokesman said: “Toyota has been at the forefront of lowering emissions for the past 15 years, with the launch of the first Prius Hybrid.
“There is now more opportunity than ever for consumers to experience and own an ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV).
“We welcome the support of the UK Government and other manufacturers as we combine our efforts to educate consumers on the suitability of ULEVs to daily life.”