Fresh investment has been announced to develop greener vehicles, help improve vehicle charging technology and drive the UK’s ‘green economic recovery’.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the £12 million funding boost as the government announced its plans for a ‘green economic recovery’ in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The funding, which has been made available through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK, will see £10 million put toward a new Zero Emission Vehicle Innovation Competition.
This competition will see applicants invited to bid for funding to support advancements in battery-electric and hydrogen vehicles, as well as the further development of charging infrastructure around the country.
An additional £2 million will be earmarked to support SMEs to continue research into zero-emission vehicles and battery technology which could be used in future electric vehicle manufacturing.
It is hoped the funding will help SMEs to drive local economic growth through R&D projects and create over 6,000 skilled jobs.
Shapps said the plans will play a crucial role in helping the UK to achieve its net-zero carbon commitments.
“We’re supporting small businesses to develop the transport tech of the future through a multi-million-pound investment, ensuring that UK businesses remain at the forefront of low carbon innovation and research,” he said.
“A green recovery is key to helping us achieve our net-zero carbon commitments while also promoting economic growth,” Shapps added.
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Shapps also revealed that green number plates are set to be rolled out across the UK from autumn this year.
Drivers will be encouraged to switch to electric vehicles through the introduction of the new plates, which make it easier for cars to be identified as zero-emission vehicles.
This could help local authorities to design and implement new policies to incentivise people to own and drive zero-emission vehicles. Proposed incentives include cheaper parking for electric car drivers or cost-free entry into zero-emission zones.
Green number plates will be identifiable by green flashes on the left-hand side and will be available for zero-emission vehicles only, Shapps confirmed.
“Green number plates could unlock a number of incentives for drivers and increase awareness of cleaner vehicles on our roads, showing people that a greener transport future is within our grasp,” he said.