Posted on: September 10, 2013
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has revealed its strategy to continue driving the UK ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) sector forward.
The announcement from Transport Minister Norman Baker suggests the government will focus on developing fuel options to benefit the light commercial, heavy commercial and public service vehicle sectors, and to continue to provide the automotive sector with opportunities to grow the UK economy.
He said, “These are exciting times for the motoring industry as ultra-low emission vehicles are the future for road travel. Our vision is that by 2050 almost every car and van will be an ultra-low emission vehicle with the UK at the forefront of their design, development and manufacture. This strategy moves us up a gear in pursuing that vision.”
Baker added that the new strategy allows the automotive sector to produce changes that will benefit the quality of air in towns and cities, and reduce carbon emissions and reliance on foreign oil imports.
OLEV is also asking for the industry to feedback on how it should utilise £500 million of new capital investment, available between 2015 and 2020, to establish and secure the ULEV market in the UK.
Business Minister Michael Fallon, said, “By setting out the level of our financial support up to 2020 we are demonstrating our long-term commitment and giving business the confidence to invest.
“We will keep working in partnership with industry on where our investment can best drive growth as we support the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles.”
Key to the government’s plans for ULEV is to grow low emission vehicle fleets, to create a better network of charging points and infrastructure, including a smarter electricity grid as well as the developing ULEV technologies.
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of SMMT, added, “We’re pleased to see the strategy set out a longer term approach to the incentives, policies and initiatives which are needed to create confidence for vehicle buyers and manufacturers. We strongly support the collaborative approach with our industry which will help to secure the UK’s position as a leader in the development, production and use of ultra-low emission technologies.”
Part of OLEV’s plan is to explore the different refuelling options available to different transport sectors. It emphasises that light commercial vehicles can benefit from developments in the car market from plug-in or fuel cell technology, while the heavier commercial sector will need to explore sustainable bio-fuel options where it has established that other liquid fuel alternatives are scarce and as creating electric drivetrains for this sector may not be feasible.
One challenge the government department is facing, alongside the Low Carbon HGV Technology Task Force, is providing an infrastructure to ease concerns by fleet operators. It admits the benefits of switching to gas engines is easy to see in terms of cost savings, however the Low Carbon Truck and Infrastructure Trial will be the first foundations for creating a HGV biofuel infrastructure.
OLEV adds that the public service vehicle sector is slightly different and can benefit from a mix of both technologies. Its Green Bus Fund is a good indication of this