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UK Government Launches Road to Zero Strategy

The U.K. government released its Road to Zero Strategy on Monday, confirming its ambition to have at least 50 percent and as much as 70 percent of new car sales as ultra-low emission by 2030, in addition to up to 40 percent of new vans.

The government will take steps to enable a "massive" roll-out of green infrastructure to support electric vehicle revolution as part of plans to make the U.K. "the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle," according to a statement on the government's website.

The measures aim to reduce emissions from the vehicles already on the U.K.'s roads, and drive the uptake of zero-emission cars, vans, and trucks. Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said the strategy set out "a clear path for Britain to be a world leader in the zero-emission revolution - ensuring that the U.K. has cleaner air, a better environment and a stronger economy".

The country will end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 as set out in the government’s air quality plan, according to the statement, which said the Road to Zero Strategy would build on this commitment and outline how the government would work with industry to support achieving this.

"The government will work alongside industry, businesses, academia, consumer groups, devolved administrations, environmental groups, local government and international partners to enable the deployment of one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world and prepare for a greener future for the U.K.’s roads," it said.

The strategy outlines a number of ambitious measures including a push for charge points to be installed in newly built homes, where appropriate, and new lampposts to include charging points, potentially providing a massive expansion of the plug-in network.

The government will also launch a £400 million ($530.7 million) Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund to help accelerate the roll-out of charging infrastructure by providing funding to new and existing companies that produce and install charge points.

Additionally, a new £40 million ($53 million) program will be created "to develop and trial innovative, low-cost wireless and on-street charging technology".

Another measure concerns the provision of up to £500 ($663) for electric vehicle owners to put in a charge point in their home through the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, and an increase in the value of grants available to workplaces to install charge points so people can charge when they are at work.

The plug-in car and van grants will also be extended to at least October at current rates, and in some form until at least 2020, allowing consumers to continue to make "significant” savings when purchasing a new electric vehicle.

Moreover, the launch of an Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce will bring together the energy and automotive industries to plan for the increase in demand of energy infrastructure that will result from a rise in the use of electric vehicles.

The government is also taking powers through an Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill to ensure smart charge points are easily accessed and used across the U.K., available at motorway service areas and large fuel retailers.

There are already more than 150,000 ultra-low emission vehicles on British roads, according to the statement, which said the government had already committed to investing £1.5 billion (nearly $2 billion) in ultra-low emission vehicles by 2020.


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