The UK Government announced its Autumn Budget including a £400 million fund and various measures to support zero-emission vehicles. The Government will invest £200 million - to be matched by private investment - into a new £400 million Charging Investment Infrastructure Fund and it guaranteed £100 million will be allocated for the continuation of the Plug-In Car Grant until 2020- a scheme to support consumers to transition to battery-powered vehicles. Research & Development in charging technology will receive £40 million of funding. The Government also pledged to replace 25 percent of central government's car fleets with electric plug-ins by 2022.
Philip Hammond, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the Government will also develop legislation to support the transition to a low carbon transportation system, especially the deployment of charging infrastructure. He said: "Our future vehicles will be driverless, but they'll be electric first. And that's a change that needs to come as soon as possible". The Government anticipates that the first fully self-driving cars will hit the road by 2021 and that it will make "world-leading" changes to the regulatory framework to improve safety tests.
The Government also recommitted £557 million for further Contracts for Difference (CfD), the main subsidy scheme which supports low-carbon generation.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is one of the largest and most influential trade associations in the UK. It supports the interests of the UK automotive industry at home and abroad, promoting a united position to government, stakeholders and the media. Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive said "The Autumn Budget contains some positive measures and we are pleased to see a renewed commitment to new and future vehicle technology. The investment in charge points and new incentives to encourage the take up of electric cars is a positive step to boost buyer confidence, which will be essential to increasing market share. However it's disappointing that there is no additional funding for the incentivisation of plug-in hybrids."
With regard to research and development he said "UK Automotive has established itself as one of the biggest investors in research and development so the announcement of further fresh incentives along with an increase in R&D tax credit will give an additional boost to innovation."
On diesel taxation he said "Our greatest concern is the continuing mixed messages around diesel which will only deter and confuse the public further. Diesel buyers will not face any additional taxation for the next six months, but thereafter, will face additional charges which will undermine fleet renewal efforts, which are the best and quickest way to address air quality concerns. Manufacturers are investing heavily in the latest low emission technology, however, it's unrealistic to think that we can fast-track the introduction of the next generation of clean diesel technology which takes years to develop, in just four months. This budget will also do nothing to remove the oldest, most polluting vehicles from our roads in the coming years."
Sources: Climate Action Programme, SMMT
Top image: US Department of Energy
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