UK sets out a plan to become the world leader in electric vehicles

  • There are currently more than 150,000 ultra-low emission vehicles on British roads.
  • The strategy sets out a target that at least 50 percent of new car sales be ultra-low emission by 2030.
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Sebastian Rothe | EyeEm | Getty Images

The British government has unveiled a plan that it hopes will make the country a world leader in electric vehicles.

The Road to Zero Strategy contains a series of proposals to help increase green infrastructure, cut vehicle emissions and “drive the uptake” of zero-emission vans, trucks and cars, the government said in a statement Monday.

The strategy sets out a target that at least 50 percent of new car sales — and "up to" 40 percent of van sales — be ultra-low emission by 2030. The government added that it had already made a commitment to invest £1.5 billion ($2 billion) in ultra-low emission vehicles by the year 2020.

Other measures include plans to install charge points in newly-built homes and lampposts, the launch of a £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund and a new £40 million program to develop and trial “innovative, low-cost wireless and on-street charging technology.”

Additionally, electric vehicle owners would be provided with as much as £500 to help them install a charge point at their home.

“The coming decades are going to be transformative for our motor industry, our national infrastructure and the way we travel,” Chris Grayling, secretary of state for transport, said in a statement. “We expect to see more change in the transport sector over the next 10 years than we have in the previous century.”

The government said its initiatives would “set the stage” for the mass adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles, adding that there are currently over 150,000 on British roads. “The Road to Zero Strategy sets out a clear path for Britain to be a world leader in the zero-emission revolution — ensuring that the U.K. has cleaner air, a better environment and a stronger economy,” Grayling said.

The statement added that the strategy was “technology neutral” and that there were no plans to ban any one type of technology, such as hybrids.