£20m announced for UK electric vehicle data centre

Posted on 6 Nov 2018 by Maddy White

£20m has been announced to create the UK Mobility Data Institute, a focused research centre to collect, process and analyse transport data generated from autonomous and electric vehicles.

Jaguar will produce EVs – image courtesy of JLR.

Following his autumn Budget, Philip Hammond declared that the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) will receive the funding, to enable WMG to create the facility.

The announcement was made in the publication of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s full budget, following his Budget 2018 speech last week.

Read how the Budget will impact manufacturers in full here.

Data aggregation and analysis could underpin the future of all transport systems and dictate how they are built, regulated and used. 

The data institute will reportedly provide the computing, technical and connectivity capacity and expertise to bring together and exploit, for economic, productivity, social and environmental gain, the huge amount of data generated in many transport systems.

As AVs and EVs are being driven into the mainstream, with more manufacturers investing in the technology – including Dyson, supercar makers, Jaguar Land Rover and more – a cleaner, connected transport system looks sure to be the future of the automotive industry.

The sector also needs to align with UK political policy, that being, that at least half of all new cars sold in Britain should be low carbon by 2030 – this pledged by the government earlier this year. Britain will too end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.

If this is realistic or fair for the industry, is however, an entirely different question. 

But, collecting the data produced from EVs and AVs could enhance Britain in the global race to introduce autonomous and electrical vehicles into the mainstream, as it could be analysed in depth and therefore better understood. UK company, Aurrigo, even led the world’s first autonomous vehicle demo last month.

Case study: ‘clean air fee’

Uber announced it will introduce a ‘clean air fee’ - image courtesy of Uber.
Uber announced it will introduce a ‘clean air fee’ – image courtesy of Uber.

This announcement comes after popular transport app, Uber, declared it will introduce a ‘clean air fee’ of 15p per mile to help its drivers to purchase an electric vehicle.

The company’s ‘Clean Air Plan’ aims to take a step towards helping to tackle air pollution in London, with the goal being for every car on the app in the capital to be electric by 2025.

From early next year, the ‘clean air fee’ will be included on every trip booked through the Uber app in the capital.

This means, on an average trip in London – for the estimated 3.5 million people who use Uber in the capital – a clean air fee of around 45p will be charged. 

Support drivers will receive towards the cost of an electric vehicle, will be based on the number of miles they have driven on the app. A driver using the app for an average of 40 hours per week could expect around £3,000 of support towards an EV in two years’ time, and £4,500 in three years, according to the company.

Uber expect to raise more than £200m to support drivers making the move to EVs over the next few years.