UK electric car sales might be on the rise, but the government believes the public still needs convincing that plug-in vehicles are the future. As part of its Go Ultra Low City Scheme, councils in London, Nottingham, Bristol and Milton Keynes have been chosen to share a £40 million pot designed to not only get more greener vehicles on the road but also support those who have already made the switch.
The winning cities have agreed to introduce new technology, like fast-charging hubs and street lamps that double as EV chargers, an initiative that German carmaker BMW has already trialed in Oxford. Councils will also enforce new measures that will allow owners to use bus lanes in city centres and park in up to 25,000 spaces allocated for electric vehicles.
London councils will get the majority of the money, with £13 million being spread between three boroughs. Hackney will introduce street lamp chargers, while Harrow develop a low emission zone offering "parking and traffic priority to owners of plug-in vehicles." Westminster Council already offers free parking for plug-in vehicles but will focus on selling more than 250,000 electric cars by 2025.
Milton Keynes will spend £9 million on opening a new Electric Vehicle Experience Centre that will offer advice on electric cars but also offer short-term loans. Bristol, on the other hand, will get £7 million to open up three carpool lanes, build 80 rapid charging points across the city and provide 4-week leases to those who want to try before they buy.
The scheme will also provide £5 million to smaller initiatives in Dundee, Oxford, York and the north east, helping them to get their own EV projects on the ground. York, for example, will install solar panels at park and ride points to source clean energy for electric cars and reduce city emissions in the process.