UK plugging in to low-carbon roadway


LONDON: Thousands of electric charging points are to be installed in streets and car parks to create up to six “electric car cities” and regions across the United Kingdom.As part of its plan to become a world leader in making electric and low-carbon cars an everyday feature of life before 2015, the UK is investing £30 million (RM171 million) in the scheme “to drive greener”.

Under what is called the Plugged-in Places initiative, the army of roadside charging points will support the emerging electric car technology and provide valuable experience on which to base the future development of a national charging infrastructure.

Announcing the initiative, UK Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis said: “The UK can be a world leader in electric and low-carbon cars – which is why the government has already committed around £400 million of support to encourage development and uptake of ultra-low-emission vehicles.”

He continued: “Our aim is for electric and low-carbon cars to be an everyday feature of life on UK roads in less than five years. There is still a lot of work to be done; however, Plugged-in Places is one very significant step putting us firmly on the path to a low-carbon future.”

Business Minister Pat McFadden added: “The move to lower-carbon forms of transport is a turning point for the automotive industry, opening up new opportunities for existing UK automotive companies and with the potential to create new jobs and new industries, for example around the charging infrastructure. Our aim is for Britain to become a global centre for low-carbon transport development, manufacturing and delivery – the government is backing businesses who want to help make this happen.”

Plugged-in Places builds on existing measures to support alternative fuels and these are being boosted by seven projects that will benefit from £500,000 through the government’s alternative fuels programme.

These schemes will involve the provision of an initial 72 electric charging points and four gas refuelling stations for vehicles in areas across England.

Half of the charging points will be established in London by the Transport for London organisation that plans to put them on-street and in underground and surface car parks. The other 36 charging points will be located throughout the industrial West Midlands.

Now, the plan is to invite cities and businesses to join together to bid for Plugged-in Places funding to establish thousands more charging points for electric and plug-in electric/petrol hybrid cars.

They will be set up in streets and car parks as well as at commercial, retail and leisure sites. These charging points are seen as crucial to the switch to a cleaner, non-polluting form of transport.

Such availability will encourage companies to accept this as a serious challenge to conventional petrol and diesel-engined vehicles. — LPS