The UK government has announced ambitious plans to make all new vans and cars emission free by 2040. Upwards of 600 million pounds will be spent over the next five years on the design and manufacture of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).
This is expected to massively boost air quality in the medium and long term, and save some 65 million tonnes of carbon. A quarter of European electric vehicles are already built in the UK, and the government is keen to see this continue.
A key part of the strategy includes investment in high quality testing facilities. In January 2016, Robert Goodwill, the UK’s Transport Minister, opened a world-class testing facility at the Intertek laboratory in Milton Keynes which will play a pivotal role in development of the ULEV technology.
The lab is the largest hybrid and electric vehicle test facility in the UK, and has been custom-built to ensure Britain’s continued lead in this area.
Facilities available at the laboratory include battery simulators and the latest emission measuring equipment.
These will help to determine both the efficiency of the cars and to boost our understanding of the technologies and engineering required to make ULEVs the standard for all cars in the coming decades.
The facility is not only contributing to developments in hybrid and electric vehicles but also providing a boost for jobs within the wider motor trade. Highly-skilled workers will be in demand to help the UK boost its fleet of ULEVs and to make Britain a world leader in exploitation of the new technologies.
Intertek have an impressive record in many areas, and their involvement adds plenty of weight to the impressive statements issued by the government concerning the uptake of new technologies in the motor industry. The facility will create more than 100 jobs within Milton Keynes alone.
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The UK has a very good track record in the uptake of new vehicle technologies; there are more than 50,000 new and used cars on the market which employ hybrid or electric engines.
These include the widely sold Toyota Prius and a new generation of smart electric cars which are ideal for the city and shorter commutes.
One of the tasks for manufacturers will be to build cars with a longer range, and also for the creation of many more charging points in homes and around the road network.
In 2013 there were just 3,500 electric cars on the roads, so the government’s commitment to making every car on trade plates electric within 25 years is a serious challenge!
The wider industry will also need to adapt; purchasing a private or motor trade insurance policy for electric vehicles is much more difficult than buying policies for standard cars and vans, and this is an area that needs to rapidly develop as supply and demand for electric cars increases.