The conservative UK government will allocate £1 billion ($A2 billion) to increase a roll-out of electric car charging hubs and extend its Plug-In Grant under its latest budget.
The clean transport focus is part of an £8 million ($A16 billion) in funding being directed to climate change solutions, including carbon capture and tree planting, announced in the 2020 UK budget on Wednesday (UK time) by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.
Sunak said in the two-hour delivery to the British house of commons, “Green jobs, better flood defences, cheaper electric vehicles, innovative new technology. We promised to protect our environment, we’re getting it done.”
Included in the boost to green measures are £500 million ($A 1 billion) to support the rollout of a super-fast DC electric vehicle charging network £533 million ($A1.6 billion) to extend the UK Plug-in Grant schemes for ultra-low emission vehicles to 2023.
Other green measures include freezing climate change levies on electricity and increasing tax rates on gas from April 2022, although fuel duty will also remain frozen despite its environmental impacts.
Another £300 million ($A600 million) will go towards tackling toxic nitrogen dioxide emissions in towns and cities.
Work has already started on an electric vehicle charging forecourt in Essex, one of 100 planned “electric fuel stations” that will be deployed by sustainable energy company Gridserve.
Supported by a £4.86 million ($A9.6 million) grant from Innovate UK, the electric forecourt at Great Notley, near Braintree, Essex will be the “most advanced chargign facility in the UK” according to Gridserve chief executive Toddington Harper.
“We’ve designed our electric forecourts entirely around the needs of electric vehicle drivers, updating the petrol station model for a net-zero carbon future,” said Harper in a statement.
“Many more people want to buy electric vehicles but are worried about how to charge them.”
The UK has had a massive head start on Australia in the transition to electric vehicles, with a policy first introduced in 2011 that currently provides for a maximum £3,500 ($A7,000) towards the purchase of a plug-in vehicle including cars, motorcycles, mopeds, vans, taxis and trucks.
To date it has supported the purchase of more than 200,000 low emissions vehicles, half of which are zero-emissions 100% electric vehicles.
The grant extension will see an additional £403 million ($A806 million) provided for the purchase of electric cars, and £129.5 million ($A259 million) go towards the purchase of electric vans, taxis and motorcycles.
Australia, by comparison, is yet to introduce any kind of solid electric vehicle strategy.
It is understood that a portion of the $A68.5 million being directed to the new RACE for 2030 cooperative research centre for clean energy will be used towards electric vehicles, although details of that were not immediately available from the new CRC.
A strategy aimed at accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles is expected to be announced by mid-2020 by the Angus Taylor-led office of energy and emissions reductions, and will be funded out of the so-called $3.5 billion “Climate Solutions Package”.
“The strategy will ensure a planned and managed transition to this new vehicle technology,” a spokesperson from Taylor’s office told The Driven by email.
“The strategy, to be finalised by mid-2020 will focus on practical actions to address barriers to EV uptake, so that Australians who choose to adopt new technologies are supported in doing so.”