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PM unveils plans for UK to become world leader in low emission tech

By Mark Salisbury
Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 08:37

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A £106m package for projects developing innovative green battery, vehicle and refuelling technology will be unveiled by the Prime Minister today at the country’s first ever Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Summit.

Speaking at the event in Birmingham, Theresa May will refer to her ‘ambitious mission’ for the UK to become world leader in low emission technology as part of a drive to keep the country green. The Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, Business Secretary, Greg Clark, and Trade Secretary, Liam Fox will also be in attendance.

At the Summit, the Prime Minister will also host an Automotive roundtable with leading supply-chain companies from Germany, the USA, Japan, China, Spain and India to explore what more the government and industry together can do to accelerate the development of the zero emissions market and to highlight the UK’s strong offer.

This is the third in the Government’s series of investment roundtables which promote UK industry sector opportunities to a global audience, and drive foreign direct investment into the UK as we prepare to leave Europe.

The government will also unveil a new international declaration that will forge the way for the worldwide deployment of green vehicles and introduction of smart, zero emission infrastructure.

The first signatories to the ‘Birmingham Declaration’ include Italy, France, Denmark, UAE, Portugal, Belarus and Indonesia with more nations currently in talks to sign up. This will form the basis of increasing international engagement at climate conferences throughout the year to accelerate the global transition.

The Prime Minister is expected to say: 

“I want to see Britain, once again, leading from the front and working with industries and countries around the world to spearhead change.  
“That is why I have set this country an ambitious mission. To put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040.
“Already we are taking significant strides forward. Our electric UK manufactured cars account for one in five sold in Europe. Our batteries are among the best in the world.
“And our Road to Zero Strategy is the most comprehensive plan globally – mapping out in detail how we will reach our target for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040 – and for every car and van to be zero emission by 2050.
“Today we have provided over £10 million of funding for innovators in ultra-low emission vehicles and hydrogen technology. With a further £500m of investment from key industries in this sector.
“These measures will drive the design, use, uptake and infrastructure necessary for cleaner, greener vehicles – and in doing so, it will help us drastically reduce a major contributor to our global warming emissions, as we seek to meet the Paris Climate Change Agreement.”

The work is all part of the government’s Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, outlined in its modern Industrial Strategy, aiming to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make travel safer, improve accessibility, and present enormous economic opportunities for the UK.

This is the next step in the mission to put the UK at the forefront of zero emission technology and it sees industry stepping up to the challenge alongside the government.

Speaking at the Zero Emission Vehicle Summit, Edmund King, AA president will say; “The UK has the opportunity to lead the way on electric and ultra-low emission vehicles, but we need to create the right environment for the technology to thrive and flourish.

“Eight out of 10 drivers (84%) say that the lack of chargers is a stumbling block to electric car ownership. Even though there are more than 17,000 already in existence, more work needs to be done to build a sustainable, easy to access and use charging network.

“As most drivers say they would charge at home, an significant investment needs to be made to unlock anxiety for car owners who have no allocated parking space. While there are grants available, local councils need to step up their efforts to install on-street charging points.

“We also need Government to be clearer on diesel as many feel that the decision they made in good faith years ago, could now come back to haunt them. Three quarters (75%) of drivers say a diesel scrappage scheme would help encourage them to buy an ultra-low emission vehicle.

“Batteries produced in the UK are amongst the best in the world, so we should be proud to buy British. Offering drivers a hand to buy them could prove to be the investment of the century.”

Today industry has announced that it is investing over £500m in projects relating to low emission technology, creating 1000 jobs across the UK. These announcements include:

  • JEE is investing around £6m in the UK to establish an assembly and testing facility in Birmingham, employing around 20 highly skilled people by 2020.
  • Aston Martin are announcing a further £50m investment at its new St Athan facility in Wales which will become its centre for electrification and the home of the Lagonda brand. The investment will create an additional 200 jobs at the site and, in total, the new plant will bring up to 750 high skilled jobs to South Wales.
  • Cummins will invest £210m in Research and Development in the automotive (and associated) industries, over the next three years in the UK.
  • The EV Network, UK based charging station development company, is developing 200 fast charging stations throughout the UK representing an investment of around £200m. The company has joined forces with Leclanché who will be supplying the battery storage solutions to the stations. EVN and Leclanché are announcing an EV Charging Centre of Excellence in Warwick.
  • New Williams Advanced Engineering and Unipart Manufacturing Group joint-venture Hyperbat Limited will open the UK’s largest independent vehicle battery manufacturing plant in Coventry in early 2019. The site will create around 90 new, high-value, high-tech jobs.
  • Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric Co., Ltd. (TEC), a subsidiary of CRRC, has confirmed Birmingham as the location for its new UK R&D Innovation Centre for EVs, rail, and renewable. The centre will employ more than 150 engineers by 2022, with an overall investment of up to £50m.
  • Lloyds Banking Group, the principal partner of the ZEV Summit, is announcing a new £1m fund for electric vehicle leases to incentivise zero-emission driving. The fund is for the first 1,000 customers who sign up for a pure electric vehicle from Lex Autolease, the vehicle leasing arm of the Group, from January 2019
  • Ryobi Aluminium Casting UK are investing £7m in Melting Furnace and Die Casting Machines to increase production of precision transmission components.
  • Lear Corporation is investing £54m in its UK seating operations, with £19m will go into capital and training and £35m into engineering. The investment creates another 220 jobs, and safeguards 600
  • Leading science and engineering company QinetiQ is expanding its Power Sources, Energy Storage & Distribution business, growing its team by 25%, and making an initial £2m investment in facilities in Farnborough over the next 9 months.
  • Leoni will be investing £7m in a new technical centre in South Warwickshire creating over 100 new Design & Development jobs, working with major OEMs in developing technologies for the next generation of autonomous and electric vehicles.
  • MINTH plans to establish a new facility in UK to service new orders from UK OEMs and is developing new products to reflect the shift towards light weight, electrification and autonomous driving in the automotive industry.

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