Projects that have been introduced to put more advanced technology into vehicles, developing the next generation of engines, will be the first to receive money from a new joint £1 billion government-industry fund.
The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) will see industry and government individually invest £500 million in the sector over the next 10 years to research, development and commercialisation of technology for the vehicles of the future.
This invest has the potential to secure up to 30,000 jobs linked to producing engines and create many more in the supply chain. Consortia, led by Ford, JCB, Cummins and GKN, have all received funding for projects to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.
The Business Secretary, Vince Cable has also announced recently that companies will soon be able to bid for a further £75 million from the APC with the launch of its second competition. The APC will now run bi-annual competitions, which open in April and October each year.
To accelerate the introduction of advanced low carbon technology, Ford and their partners will receive a £13.1 million grant for their £100 million programme to upgrade the award winning EcoBoost engine. This should deliver improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
JCB and their partner Flybrid will receive a £3.3 million grant as part of a £7.3 million project to apply Formula 1 technology for use in diggers. This will reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, resulting in a substantially reduced carbon footprint for construction projects using this machinery.
On average, the carbon emissions of a single 20 tonne excavator will be reduced by an estimated 16 tonnes per year.
Cummins and their partners will receive a £4.9 million grant for a £9.9 million project to deliver significant reductions in carbon emissions from bus engines through the development of new stop-start diesel engine technology. This will improve fuel consumption by 15-20 percent.
GKN Land Systems will receive a £7.5 million grant as part of a £16 million project to apply Formula 1 technology from Williams for use in buses.
The Gyrodrive system is designed to save the braking energy of a bus as it slows for a stop and use it to accelerate the bus back up to speed. This system avoids waste energy every and delivers fuel savings of 25%.
In addition, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has recently announced a £9.3 million investment in car charging infrastructure to support the launch of a new ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) campaign.
BMW, Renault, Vauxhall, Toyota and Nissan, have all supported the ‘Go Ultra Low’ campaign that aims to encourage motorists to switch to pure electric, plug-in hybrid or extended range cars.
In the last three years almost 20 electric and plug-in cars and vans have been launched into the UK market such as the BMW i3, Nissan LEAF and Vauxhall Ampera and the Government wants to make it more convenient to own one.
To launch the campaign, the Government has signed off on £5.8m for more than 140 new rapid charge-points that can fully recharge a ULEV in 30 minutes.
These will be installed in towns and roads where there is currently a shortage of charge-points, in order to create a UK-wide network of 500 rapid points.
A further £600,000 will be spent on 80 points in train station car parks, while grants worth £2.9m have been awarded to public sector organisations to install 450 charge-points on their own land for staff, business fleets and visitors.
Successful bids include the Ministry of Defence, NHS trusts, Devon and Somerset Fire Service and London Fire Service, Gloucestershire Police and several local authorities.
Professor Stephen, director of the RAC Foundation, still believes that ultra low carbon cars have a long way to go. He said: “The UK is at the forefront of the green car technology, however, so far there has been pairing issues by our willingness to buy the products. Sales of ultra low carbon cars have been slow and the government still has a couple of hundred million pounds of grants available to purchasers.
The good news is that the upfront cost of electric vehicles is falling. However, the perception gap is still wide, with many people still unclear of the benefits green cars can deliver them. That’s why we’ve got this campaign.”
What are the constructive and beneficial points of driving a low emissions vehicle, for example Tax benefits?