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Transport investment strategy outlines EV battery funding, defers decarbonisation to CGP

The government’s new transport investment strategy has confirmed funding for research into electric vehicle batteries, but deferred much of the decarbonisation of the sector to the forthcoming Clean Growth Plan.

The strategy document, published by transport secretary Chris Grayling today, outlines how the government intends to invest in the country’s transport infrastructure in a bid to modernise and improve it.

But while the strategy talks up to low-emission vehicles and the need for rapid decarbonisation in transport, today’s document defers much of the required progress to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s CGP, now scheduled for September.

It sets out that transport is responsible for around 25% of all domestic emissions and stresses that a key commitment to ensuring all cars and vans on the road are zero-emission by 2050.

“The transport investment decisions we take will need to align with those priorities and support the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles,” the report states.

One area which was provided with more detail however was the government’s investment of £246 million in funding under the Faraday Challenge fund to support developments in EV battery design, development and manufacture to enable greater electrification of vehicles.

The £246 million figure is to be spread over four years to help UK businesses “seize the opportunities” presented by the low carbon economy and “ensure the UK leads the world” in EV battery manufacture.

This has also not been limited to electric cars, with the light rail sector also included in its jurisdiction.

“Electric vehicles are less polluting and cheaper to run, and have the potential to provide electricity storage and demand flexibility that could provide benefits to consumers and our electricity system,” the strategy states.

Grayling added: “The transport investment strategy sets out a blueprint for how we can harness the power of transport investment to drive balanced economic growth, unlock new housing projects, and support the government’s modern industrial strategy.

“At the heart of our approach is a plan to make transport work for the people who use it and for the wider economy.”

EVs, charging infrastructure and their connection to local power networks have long been an area of concern given the perception that localised grids are not ready for significant numbers of EVs to be connected at any one time.

A Green Alliance report from earlier this year claimed that as few as six EVs charging on the same local network during peak demand times could be enough to trigger blackouts.

Earlier this year POD Point chief exec Erik Fairbairn said that smarter EV charging was vital for vehicles to overcome what is perceived to be the last real barrier to widespread adoption in grid constraints.