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The NFDA is optimistic about the rise of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs), and London’s plans to become the ultra-low emission vehicle capital of Europe, but hopes that there will be sufficient support to ensure their uptake, following this week’s speech by Isabel Dedring, London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport.
The Deputy Mayor said that there was ‘a great opportunity for the capital’s fleet of commercial and private vehicles to step forward and help to deliver our ambition for London to be a world leader in green vehicle technology’, when giving a speech to mark the introduction of electric vehicles to the London Fire Brigade’s fleet.
The UK public has already shown an appetite for low emission vehicles. Government data shows that in the first quarter of 2015 alone, 9,046 ultra-low emission vehicles were registered, a whopping 366% increase on the number in the first quarter of 2014. This was due to a combination of greater choice in car models and government grants for plug-in vehicles.
Moreover, manufacturers have responded to this demand, and have developed some of the cleanest engines ever made, with emissions meeting levels set out in the EU directive that comes into force on 1 September 2015. In April almost half of all newly registered cars had Euro-6 engines (SMMT). This will allow drivers to meet the stringent requirements of the new Ultra Low Emissions Zone set to be introduced to London in 2020.
We are ahead of the curve in the UK, with recent figures released by the Department for Transport revealing that the carbon emissions of cars newly registered in the first quarter of this year are 3% lower than the same period in 2014. Average new car CO2 emissions in 2014 were down 28% compared to 2003.
In terms of electric vehicles, great strides are being made in battery life and range, to make these vehicles a truly viable option for drivers. There is also an ever-expanding choice in electric vehicle, with many new models available.
However, this progress could be at risk due to the ending of the Plug-in Car and Van Grants, and the move announced in the Budget to only exempt zero emission vehicles from Vehicle Excise Duty, rather than low emission vehicles as a whole. The NFDA hopes the government will take action to support its commitment that almost every car and van to be a zero emission vehicle by 2050 becomes a reality.
Educating consumers should also be a priority, to ensure that motorists are fully aware of the green options available to them.