UK launches Road to Zero electric car initiatives


Shell charging station in Britain (higher res)

Shell charging station in Britain (higher res)

British Transport Minister Chris Grayling on Monday introduced a comprehensive package of laws aimed at speeding the adoption of electric cars in the country.

Known as the Road to Zero, the package will ban sales of pure gasoline and diesel cars, require charging stations to be included in all new homes and offices, and equip every streetlight adjacent to parking with a power outlet, according to a report in British car magazine AutoExpress.

The package includes $534 million (£400 million British pounds) in incentives to build charging infrastructure across the country.

"The strategy sets out a package of measures to ensure that electric vehicle drivers will be able to easily locate and access charging infrastructure that is affordable, efficient and reliable," Minister Grayling said in a statement announcing the program.

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Part of the plan includes investments in wireless charging technology.

The Road to Zero would require cars to have an electric range of at least 50 miles on battery power by 2040, which would rule out conventional hybrids as well as non-hybrid gasoline and diesel cars.

Grayling targeted sales of 50 percent plug-in vehicles by 2030 and 100 percent  by 2040. These could include plug-in hybrid cars with gas or diesel range extenders, but the government's statement says it expects the majority to be pure electric cars.

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"The transition to zero emission road transport is happening now across the world," said Grayling.

Several cities in Britain, including London, Birmingham, and Leeds have already set fines for older gas and diesel cars traveling into the city center.

Environmental groups including Greenpeace, criticized the initiative, calling it  a "road to nowhere," because the Conservative government rolled back an outright ban on sales of new cars with gasoline and diesel engines in favor of the 50-mile electric mandate.

Toyota's managing director for Britain, said the 50-mile electric mandate would "price ordinary drivers off the road."

 
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