Making a speech at Birmingham’s Zero Emission Vehicle Summit, Prime Minister Theresa May announced £106m worth of funding for innovators in ultra-low-emission vehicles – and reaffirmed her commitment to put the UK at the forefront of zero-emission vehicle design and manufacture.
In the next 10 years, said the PM, the UK will see the biggest increase in R&D investment in its history, with the goal being for R&D investment to reach 2.4% of GDP by 2027.
“Over the coming years, the way we commute, travel and have our goods and services delivered will change irrevocably,” she said.
“Electrification, self-driving cars, delivery drones and electric cargo bikes will all help reduce traffic, improve journey times and safety, and free-up space in our towns and cities.
“As we stand on the brink of the next revolution in transport – a green revolution – 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.
“Already we are taking significant strides forward. Our electric, UK-manufactured cars account for one-in-five sold in Europe. Our batteries are among the best in the world.
“And our Road to Zero Strategy is the most comprehensive plan globally – mapping out in detail how we will reach our target for all new cars and vans to be, effectively, zero emission by 2040 – and for every car and van to be zero emission by 2050.”
The Prime Minister was keen to highlight an increased level of investment in environmentally-friendly vehicles: “We are investing in the design, development and infrastructure needed to speed up the uptake of green vehicles.
We are providing £1.5 billion for ultra-low-emission vehicles by 2020, and creating a £400 million fund to invest in the roll-out of charging point infrastructure, in partnership with industry.
“We have legislated to ensure charge points can be easily accessed and available at motorway service stations and other petrol stations.
“We will consult on the introduction of green number plates – and how they might be used to promote clean vehicles and increase their use.
“And today we have provided over £100 million of funding for innovators in ultra-low-emission vehicles and hydrogen technology, with a further £500 million of investment from key industries in this sector, creating over 1,000 jobs across the UK.
“So, we are driving change further, and faster.”
Concluding her speech, Theresa added: “We have long lived with the idea that traffic is polluting. We know that no longer needs to be true. And we are on the brink of making it a thing of the past.
“Let’s do so together. And transform the world in which we all live for the better.”
Held at Birmingham’s International Conference Centre, the summit – which took place on 11 September – was organised by the Government and hailed as the ‘world’s first zero emission vehicle summit.’