The United Kingdom Coalition Government has maintained its commitment to the decarbonization of road transport. Significant CO2 reductions could be realized in the British transport sector in particular.
In 2009, road transport accounted for almost 24% of UK carbon dioxide emissions,and the transport sector overall accounted for about 22% of UK greenhouse gas emissions.
The main efforts towards promoting hybrid and electric vehicles (H&EVs) are being carried out through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). OLEV is a cross-government effort to manage the programmatic and regulatory efforts to decarbonize UK road transport. This includes development of ultra-low emission vehicles through research, development, and demonstration efforts, as well as promoting consumer uptake of such cars. OLEV is also charged with improving fuel economy of conventional vehicles. OLEV includes staff and personnel from the Department for Transport (DfT), the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS), and also the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
The UK Government’s policy framework aims to both stimulate and accommodate the expected substantial growth in plug-in vehicles in the country in the next few years. The UK expects to see tens of thousands of plug-in vehicles on its roads, with manufacturers bringing increasing numbers of models to market.
Early purchasers are expected to be fleet or business users and consumers in urban and suburban locations. It is the owners in these segments of the market who are most likely to reap the full environmental and cost-of-ownership benefits of plug-in vehicles. The UK market will expand its reach as consumer and business acceptance continues to grow.
The majority of charging will happen at home or “back at base”, with further charging opportunities provided at key locations. The majority of public recharging infrastructure will be provided through the Plugged-In Places initiative, which will provide key Information such as how consumers use infrastructure and the impact of plug-in vehicles on the grid. Commercial business models for public charging will begin to emerge, supported by forward-thinking enterprise and local initiatives.