Whitehall departments and their agencies to introduce plug-in vehicles

Government is set to lead by example as all of its car fleets are provided with funding to introduce plug-in cars and vans, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer announced today.

The £5 million ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) readiness project is just the first step in plans to make electric cars and other plug-in vehicles commonplace in government fleets.

It will allow every central government fleet to review its arrangements and consider how greener vehicles can be used. Over 150 plug-in vehicles will be added to government fleets in the first wave of the scheme.
It is also expected to allow fleets to introduce over 150 plug-in vehicles.

The Government Car Service, which provides cars for ministers, will lead the way, with its review already underway and plans to order the first electric cars in the autumn.

Baroness Kramer was joined at the launch of the scheme by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Minister of State for Cabinet Office Oliver Letwin.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “I am delighted the Government Car Service is leading the move to electric vehicles and I will be one of the first in line to use one. This is the right thing to do, with much lower running costs and close to zero emissions, these vehicles will save the taxpayer money and be much greener.

”We are also investing significantly in ultra-low emission vehicles which will help ensure they play an important role in the UK economy as well as the environment.”

Baroness Kramer said: “Government must lead by example. Today’s investment will see government switching a significant number of plug-in cars and vans into our fleets and leading the electric charge.”

The scheme will be expanded in the autumn to allow the wider public sector including councils, police forces and the NHS, to introduce more plug-in vehicles. This is expected to add approximately a further 135 plug-in vehicles to these fleets.

In both phases, chargepoints will also be installed to provide infrastructure support for the new cars and vans.

Cars and vans will be recommended on a like-for-like basis and the reviews will consider the whole life cost of the vehicles to ensure that each replacement makes economic sense.

ULEVs will be a major area of future growth for the hugely successful UK automotive sector, worth over £11 billion to the economy.

The £5 million scheme for getting ULEVs into government fleets is in addition to the support for the Go Ultra Low campaign being delivered in partnership with vehicle manufacturers and £500m announced by the Deputy Prime Minister in April 2014 which includes:

  • at least £200 million to continue the Plug In Car Grant, cutting up to £5000 off the price of a new ULEV car
  • £100 million for research and development
  • £35 million cities scheme
  • £20 million to encourage ULEV taxis
  • £30 million to boost the low emission bus market
  • £32 million for more chargepoints