Electric motorcycles and scooters will join cars, vans, trucks and buses in the Government’s drive for greener vehicles, Business Minister Matthew Hancock has announced.
The Government announced last month that up to £7.5m will be set aside to boost the uptake for electric two wheelers and help bikers bridge the cost gap between a zero emission electric motorcycle and conventional petrol versions.
The grant could offer up to £1,500 off the purchase price and allow motorcyclists to reduce both their running costs and environmental impact.
The move comes following meetings with the electric Motor Cycle Industry Association and leading manufacturers including Suzuki, Harley Davidson, BMW, Volt, and Mahindra.
Business Minister Matthew Hancock commented: “Low emission vehicles are the future and show that we can meet our climate change commitments without giving up our cars or motorbikes. Electric motorcycles and scooters have got fantastic potential and can be a real force for good.
“This investment shows we are serious about increasing the uptake of cleaner vehicles in the UK, and offer a fantastic place for firms to locate their R&D and manufacturing facilities. Supporting new technologies is a key part of our long-term economic plan.”
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “This £7.5m for electric bikes demonstrates our commitment to all ultra-low emission vehicles, from motorbikes to cars and trucks. From navigating city streets to putting in the motorway miles there is now a genuine low emission choice for everyone and electric vehicles are now ready to go mainstream.
“We are determined that the UK continues to be at the forefront of this vital revolution in transport.”
The Government will continue to work closely with the industry as it finalises the details of the scheme, including the grant level and final eligibility criteria, but it could be up and running in dealerships as early as this Summer. The funding is being made available from the £500m Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) programme for the period 2015-2020.
A spokesman from Mahindra said the company welcomed the ambition and commitment shown the to the electric transport industry. The Mahindra GenZe is an innovative, zero emission electric two wheeler, which the company says will offer an exciting ride to urban commuters.
“The Mahindra Group already has a growing presence in the UK through its electric vehicles and Formula E racing team and we fully expect the UK to be one of our lead markets for our GenZe two wheelers when they come to the UK market in late 2015,” said the spokesman.
Hydrogen also on the agenda
The Minister also announced that seven new hydrogen projects have been given the green light today.
The £6.6m investment will see an initial network of 12 hydrogen refuelling stations established, including new stations built in Brentford and Croydon and a new mobile station that will be used across the South of England, as well as upgrades to existing hydrogen demonstrator stations. This represents a significant step in enabling the use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the UK.
The seven hydrogen projects are:
- ITM Power are creating two new hydrogen refuelling stations in Brentford and Croydon and Four upgrades to Sheffield and London stations
- Air Products are upgrading existing stations in Hatton Cross and Hendon and will upgrade a mobile refuelling station to support conferences and test drives of fuel cell vehicles
- Fuel Cell Systems will create one new mobile station based in Southern UK
- University of South Wales will upgrade the existing station in Port Talbot
- Honda UK will upgrade its existing station in Swindon