Government plans to turn UK into an EV tech world leader

by Lawrence Allan, Autocar UK 12 Sep 2018

The UK PM, Theresa May has revealed plans to fund projects developing 'green' vehicle technology at the inaugural Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Summit.

The funding injection will include £106 million (Rs 1,003 crore) of government money, with an extra £500m (Rs 4,734 crore) investment from “key industries in this sector”. The prime minister, speaking at ZEV in Birmingham, said that she has set an “ambitious mission” for the country. 

May added: “I want 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.” 

At least 1000 UK jobs will be created in the plans, which fit in with the government’s previously announced ‘Road to Zero’ strategy. May's speech confirmed that the government intends to provide “over £10m (Rs 94 crore) of funding for innovators in ultra-low emission vehicles and hydrogen technology”. 

May also said the measures are intended to “drive the design, use, uptake and infrastructure necessary for cleaner, greener vehicles”. Such developments will be vital in ensuring the UK can meet the standards highlighted in the Paris Climate Change Agreement. 

£500 million private investment pledged

The list of companies lined up to invest in projects relating to low-emission technology includes Aston Martin, with its £50m investment in its Welsh ‘centre for electrification’, and powertrain specialist Cummins, set to spend £210m (Rs 1,988 crore) in R&D over the next three years in the UK. Jaguar Land Rover will team up with carbon fibre specialist Sigmatex to develop lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures, further boosting the efficiency of green vehicles.

Further firms mentioned include EV Network, a UK-based charging station development company investing around £200m (Rs 1,893 crore), and Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric Co, which has chosen Birmingham as its new R&D innovation centre for EVs, rail and renewable. 

Also announced today is the UK’s first independent battery manufacturing facility for the automotive industry, created in a joint venture between Williams Advanced Engineering and Unipart Manufacturing Group. It will open at the start of 2019.