The UK Department for Transport announced today that, as part of the country’s plan to reduce emissions, the government will be putting £100 million ($155 million) into electric car research, development and deployment. The program will make the UK a better place for electric cars, but there’s no word yet if Better Place is bidding on the projects. (Shai Agassi did pitch his idea to the PM Gordon Brown earlier this year, though.)
The money will be divvied up across several initiatives. £20 million has been dedicated to researching technology to lower the costs of EVs, £10 million will go into a 100-vehicle demonstration competition where consumers can test the cars, and another £20 million will be offered up for car companies to make electric vans for government use, including mail delivery. The short list of manufacturers for this project includes Ford, Mercedes Benz, Citroen, Ashwoods, Land Rover, Modec, Smiths, Electric Vehicles, LDV, Nissan and Allied Vehicles.
To facilitate the switch to electrics, the government says it has removed many of the barriers to installing charging stations and intends to hold workshops for stakeholders to discuss how to prep the country’s infrastructure. The government says that the existing power grid could support wide-spread electric car charging with a minimal increase in power generation.
The UK hopes that electrification of the country’s transportation will create 10,000 new British jobs. Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon estimates that about 15 percent of Britain’s emissions are from vehicles and this project will help the UK reach its new, ambitious goal of cutting emissions 80 percent by 2050. The government says creating a new low-carbon economy could create 1 million new jobs by 2030.