UK launches new £500m+ zero emissions vehicle roadmap

Electric car chargers in London
CC BY 2.0 Electric car chargers in London/ Lloyd Alter

That's a lot of money for a small island.

When I wrote about all the bike lanes and solar panels that have popped up in Britain since I emigrated, one thing I didn't spend too much time on is electric vehicles. True, I did see a few Teslas and Nissan Leafs on my travels, but they were nowhere near as commonplace as here in the Triangle region of North Carolina.

That, however, might be about to change.

Many UK businesses have already pledged to buy electric cars and electric vans. Others have promised to start installing charging stations. And cities are getting the electric taxi bug.

Meanwhile the Conservative government has already pledged significant financial backing for electric vehicles, and Business Green reports that Theresa May is confirming those commitments with a zero emission vehicle roadmap that includes £500m (US$650m) in industry-led investments, as well as over £100m in support for zero emission R&D efforts.

Here's how Theresa May was set to make the case for this pledge at the launch of a Zero Emission Vehicle Summit in Birmingham:

"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."

Of course, electrification of transportation is worth celebrating in any country. But given that Britain has already succeeded in significantly decarbonizing its electricity supply, a rapid transition to electric and other zero emission vehicles could have a profound and outsized effect on overall carbon emissions.

And not a moment too soon.

UK launches new £500m+ zero emissions vehicle roadmap
That's a lot of money for a small island.

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