A UK-wide trial of electric cars has been launched.
Ministers gathered at London's Guildhall this morning to unveil the range of electric and low carbon technology vehicles to be used in the trails.
Set to be the biggest trial of its kind, the scheme, which uses £25 million of government funding, was organised by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). TSB announced the companies which had been selected to partake in the trials this morning through its 'Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator' competition.
The successful bids bring together car manufacturers, power companies, Regional Development Agencies, councils and academic institutions and will operate across eight UK locations to deliver low carbon vehicles to consumers.
It is planned that approximately 340 vehicles will be on UK roads within the next six to eighteen months as part of the trial, with thousands in the coming years as manufacturers and their strategic partners announce their own plans. The majority of the vehicles to take part are electric, with a small number being plug-in petrol/electric hybrids and hydrogen cars. The trails will take place in London and four locations around the UK - Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle, and Oxford.
Cars set to be used in the trial include the Mini E, the Mitsubishi iMiEV and the electric smart ed.
The winning consortia of companies selected to partake in the trials are; Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrators (CABLED), Electric Vehicle Accelerated Development in the North East (EVADINE), Ford Focus Battery Electric Vehicle, London South East Bid, MINI E Research Project, The Allied Vehicles Project, PHV – Paving the way to full commercialisation of plug-in hybrid vehicles and EEMS Accelerate.
"Ultra low carbon vehicles are now mainstream business for the UK motor industry and the TSB's competition provides the ideal incentive to develop and demonstrate new technologies," said Paul Everitt, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
"The collaborative nature of this project enhances the recommendations laid out by NAIGT (New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team) and marks the beginning of an important new phase for the UK motor industry," he concluded.
All the cars taking part in the trial emit less than 50g CO2 per km.
TSB describe the trial as a 'hugely important step' to move away from relying on petrol and diesel based engines and to meeting the government's target of an 80 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050.