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UK plug-in vehicle sector to gain 43 million in funding

Government support confirmed for plug-in vehicle charging infrastructure and research and development

Words ByAaron Smith

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The UK’s plug-in vehicle sector will get a Β£43 million boost over the next five years from the Department for Transport, it has been confirmed.

A wave of new charging points are planned to be introduced at hospitals, homes, train stations and on A-roads, with an aim to set the UK as a global leader in charging infrastructure.

Transport minister Baroness Kramer announced the funding during a visit to Nissan’s European technical development centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire.

"The funding announced marks another milestone in the government’s support for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) as their popularity takes off," she said.

"The public will find it even easier to charge their cars when they are out and about thanks to our Β£8 million commitment to support new charge points across key locations in our towns and cities.

"Our support to the ULEV industry will help ensure the innovation that is a hallmark of the British automotive industry will continue to drive development in this vital growth sector," she said.

The total injection will be split into two sub-funds - Β£32 million will be used for plug-in vehicle infrastructure and Β£11 million towards research and development.

Regarding the infrastructure investment, Β£15 million of the Β£32 million will be put towards the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which subsidises the installation of charging points at home; Β£8 million will be used to deliver charge points on major roads and in cities; and Β£9 million will be spent on the maintenance and accessibility for users of the charge point network.

The second sub-fund has Β£11 million set aside for low-emission vehicle technology innovation. Research funding will be provided to 50 organisations, ranging from major universities to small businesses working together on 15 research and development projects.

These projects include the creation of a recycled carbonfibre material that will bring lightweight, low-cost vehicle chassis structures to the mass market, led by Gordon Murray Design Ltd.

Another project in the pipeline is the development of a zero-emission electric bus with hydrogen fuel cell range extender technology at a fraction of the cost of the current-generation hydrogen buses.