Baroness Kramer asks government to put its ULEV money where its mouth is 17 July 2014
Government will lead by example, with its fleet managers provided with funding to introduce plug-in electric and hybrid cars and vans, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer announced today (17 July 2014).
Baroness Kramer says the government's £5 million ULEV (ultra low emission vehicle) readiness project is the first step in plans to make plug-ins vehicles commonplace across government fleets.
Every central government fleet will be encouraged to review its arrangements and consider how greener vehicles might be used, she explains, starting with the Government Car Service, which provides cars for ministers, and the Department for Transport.
More than 150 plug-in vehicles are expected to be added in the first wave of the scheme, as existing vehicles come up for replacement, with the Energy Saving Trust helping to match duties to vehicles.
"Today's investment will see government switching a significant number of plug-in cars and vans into our fleets and leading the electric charge," insists Baroness Kramer.
"We've already set aside £500 million for ULEVs over the next five years, which is public facing money providing £5,000 plug-in electric vehicle grants and domestic charge points. That initiative is also about working with cities to encourage uptake of ULEVs," comments Baroness Kramer.
"But government itself needs to lead by example. So this project is about picking up that challenge and, at the same time, working to benefit our overall ULEV policy and meet our climate change targets – to enhance air quality," she continues.
"But we also have interest from the treasury, because the lifecycle cost of these vehicles is significantly cheaper [than conventional cars and vans]. So this ULEV project hits both sweet spots – reducing government costs over the life of these vehicles and demonstrating clear leadership."
Baroness Kramer agrees that the project wil also provide high-profile proof points for ULEVs.
"With help from the Energy Saving Trust, we will understand where ULEVs can play a role, how you can use them [and] how you should manage them...
"When [government departments] choose ULEVs, we'll pay the first 24 months of the lease and contribute to the charge point costs."
Phase two of the government ULEV project will then see a move into the broader public sector.
"The scheme will be expanded in the autumn to allow the wider public sector – including the low hanging fruit in local councils, police forces and the NHS – to introduce more plug-in vehicles. This is expected to add a further 135 plug-in vehicles to these fleets."
Baroness Kramer is also at pains to point out that government is not only focused on cars and vans.
"We've put significant amounts of money into, for example, developing bus technology – projects such as the electric bus fleet in Milton Keynes – and there is money for taxis, too."
Cars and vans will be recommended on a like-for-like basis and the reviews will consider the whole life cost of the vehicles to ensure that each replacement makes economic sense.
Baroness Kramer believes ULEVs will be a "major area of future growth" for the "hugely successful" UK automotive sector, worth "over £11 billion" to the economy.
The £5 million scheme for getting ULEVs into government fleets is in addition to the support for the Go Ultra Low campaign being delivered in partnership with vehicle manufacturers and £500 million announced by the Deputy Prime Minister in April 2014.
The latter includes: at least £200 million to continue the Plug In Car Grant, cutting up to £5,000 off the price of a new ULEV car; £100 million for research and development; a £35 million cities scheme; £20 million to encourage ULEV taxis; £30 million to boost the low emission bus market; and £32 million for more charge points.
Will she be getting a ULEV: "I don't have my own dedicated car, but we have pool cars we can use. I would be interested"
Department for Transport
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