SMMT welcomes £500m boost for low emission vehicles

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Government plans to invest £500 million over the next five years to boost the ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) industry have been welcomed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT).

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "The move towards a low carbon vehicle future must be built around the three pillars of consumer incentives, strategically focused infrastructure and increased leverage for r&d support. We therefore welcome this announcement which reflects that balanced approach but, significantly, seek to incentivise technical developments in all segments of road transport, not just passenger cars." He added: "UK vehicle manufacturers are already committing significant investment to the UK's ULEV ambitions through research, development and production of zero and low emission vehicles and technologies. This funding package will help secure additional private sector investment, but more needs to be done to support academic research in this area – as well as developing the skills that will be essential if the UK is to become a global leader in ultra-low emission technologies." Key features of the government package are: • £200m for the continuation of the plug-in car grant, securing the government contribution of up to £5,000 towards the cost of qualifying, new ultra-low emission vehicles. • £30m to assist the purchase of other vehicles. • £100m for R&D projects. • £20m for taxi infrastructure and incentives. • £30m for buses. • £35m for a new city scheme. • £32m on infrastructure (including for a rapid charging network). • £4m for gas refuelling network for heavy commercial vehicles.