The Government has launched a £30 million grant scheme to promote the installation of charging points for electric cars. A development that can only be good news for Brighton & Hove with a cutting edge advantage in the field of sustainable transport.
Transport Secretary Lord Adonis announced yesterday that the Government intends to promote up to six cities (or entire regions) as Plugged-in Places that will have charging points for electric cars and will act as trailblazers for electric car technology. He called for public/private sector partnerships to compete for £30 million in government grants. Groups of investors will be asked to match the government funds.
Lord Adonis said: “Our aim is for electric and lowcarbon cars to be an everyday feature of life on UK’s roads in less than five years”.
Overall, the Government is investing around £400m to encourage the development, manufacture and use of next generation ultra-low carbon vehicles. Delivered by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles this support is being targeted to create new jobs in a low carbon automotive sector and to cut carbon from UK road transport.
Brighton & Hove is already ahead of the game in this respect with the first of three electric charging points have been installed in the city (see earlier story) by Elektromotive based in the Sussex Innovation Centre (SInC) at the University of Sussex Falmer Campus (see earlier story).
In addition the world-leading research and design company Ricardo is based at Shoreham and the University of Sussex has the Automotive Dynamics and Control Group which has an international reputation for its work in the dynamic behaviour and control of non-linear systems with particular relevance to automotive applications.
Some commentators have expressed concern that the proliferation of electric vehicles would place too much strain on the UK’s electricity generataing capacity. A fleet of 1.5 million electric cars on the roads in 2020 would create annual demand of 6 terrawatt hours, equivalent to the output of a large power station running 24 hours a day or 2 per cent of current electricity demand.
However, according to Eurelectric, the EU’s electricity association, the transfer of all private cars to electric power would increase demand by only 10 –15%. Peter Birkner, chairman of Eurelectric’s networks committee, said: “It’s more an issue for the distribution grid than for generating capacity. We need new business models, smart grids, smart meters and smart regulation.”
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