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TIN news:    The UK government has announced plans to invest US$840 million ultra-low emission vehicle industry. It is hoped that this will help drivers both afford and feel confident about using electric cars.
 
Announcing the funding during a visit to the Transport Research Laboratory, Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister said: “Owning an electric car is no longer a dream or an inconvenience.  Manufacturers are turning to this new technology to help motorists make their everyday journeys green and clean.”
 
Rob Wallis, TRL’s Chief Executive said: “As the UK’s leading transport research Provider, we were delighted to host this visit. It demonstrates the credible and independent role TRL is playing in the evolution of the transport industry linked to emerging technologies and economic policies associated with low carbon vehicles.”
 
Both the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and automotive manufacturer BMW UK have welcomed the news.
 
According to the FTA, HGVs had not previously been supported in this scheme.  The association has been arguing for the need for financial support for the HGV sector to help invest in alternative fuels and technologies that will reduce carbon emissions and help improve air quality.
 
FTA’s head of Urban Logistics, Christopher Snelling said: "This is a welcome development.  It is good to see that the freight sector has been recognised within the funding package allocation and that there is acknowledgment by government that heavy goods vehicles have as many challenges as cars in reducing emissions.  We anticipate that the funding package will contribute to increasing the uptake of gas and biomethane HGVs as the current lack of public refuelling infrastructure is one of the major factors preventing the market from taking off.  The HGV funding is a relatively small part of the package, but we hope more can be allocated in future to this important area. Ultra low emission vans are not yet widely commercially viable, so the continued support in this area is vital to help develop this market.”
 
BMW UK also supported the wide-ranging package of measures which includes the continuation of the existing subsidy until at least 2017 for customers purchasing new fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. Investment has also been earmarked for the creation of a network of rapid charge-points for electric vehicles in the UK.
 
BMW UK managing director, Tim Abbott said "The UK Government's commitment to supporting the transition to lower-emission vehicles comes at a crucial phase in the development of the electric car market.  The Government's funding commitment provides certainty that the UK is serious about embracing these new technologies and complements the very substantial investments being made by industry to introduce innovative lower-emission technologies that are not only exciting for customers but also good for the environment."
 
"The development of rapid charging infrastructure, together with the continuation of the Plug in Car Grant, is particularly important in giving potential electric vehicle owners the additional confidence some of them might need to make the switch" he said.

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