London and Bristol make the cut for £40m ‘green car revolution’

The cities of Nottingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes and London are set to welcome an array of green vehicle technologies and innovations after winning a share of a new £40m fund from the Government to support the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) across the UK.

The four cities were today (25 January) announced by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin as winners of the Go Ultra Low City Scheme – a Government-backed competition aimed at promoting EV use in urban settings.

McLoughlin said: “These Go Ultra Low Cities have proposed exciting, innovative ideas that will encourage drivers to choose an electric car. I want to see thousands more greener vehicles on our roads and I am proud to back this ambition with £40m to help the UK become international pioneers of emission cutting technology.”

The winning cities will deliver the rollout of a variety of cutting-edge technologies aimed at saving commuters money – around £1,300 a year – along with improving air quality, helping the Government reach emissions targets and creating new jobs in the EV sector.

London’s calling

London has been awarded £13m to create the ‘Neighbourhoods of the future’ which prioritises EV travel over conventional methods in certain London boroughs. EV charging streetlights in Hackney and a low-emission zone parking and traffic priority in Harrow are among the green innovations to be rolled out through the new funding.

Meanwhile, Westminster City Council – which already provides free EV parking as a way of incentivising uptake – aims to promote the sale of 70,000 EVs by 2020. This target will be increased to 250,000 by 2025.

The former European Green Capital, Bristol, will receive £7m to give EVs access to three carpool lanes as well as installing more than 80 rapid and fast charging areas. A scheme offering people a monthly lease of a plug-in car is also on offer.

The £9m given to Milton Keynes will be used to create an ‘Electric Vehicle Experience Centre’, which offers advice and loans on EVs. An extra 20,000 free parking bays will be introduced while bus lanes will be available to owners of EVs.

Nottinghamshire and Derby will use £6m to install 230 charging stations. A ‘try before you buy’ scheme and discount parking and bus lane use will also be introduced across the two cities.

A further £5m of funding will be split between Dundee, Oxford, York and areas in the North East.

The £40m fund is part of a wider £600m investment to improve the UK’s air quality by 2020 and achieve the Government’s goal of ensuring that every new car or van introduced in the UK by 2040 is an ultra-low emission vehicle. The low emissions goal of 2020 is also supported through a £400m plug-in car grant, which was recently extended.

Global innovators

In related news, global energy management specialists Schneider Electric has teamed up with EV solution experts EverCharge to accelerate the introduction of EV charging points in urban building such as offices and apartments around the world.

London was recently chosen as one of the European cities to take part in a €25m project which will explore how innovative technologies including heating homes through the River Thames can improve the standard of living for city residents.

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie