The government has placed electric vehicles at the heart of a green paper outlining its ‘post-Brexit’ Industrial Strategy for the UK today (23 January).
Launched by Prime Minister Theresa May, the Strategy focuses on designing a smart grid and the roll out of public charging points for the vehicles to bring about ‘affordable energy and clean growth’.
The government’s Industrial Strategy will be overseen by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Science (BEIS) and is founded on ’10 pillars’ which the government’s evidence shows will drive growth in UK business.
In her foreword, the Prime Minister confirms the Industrial Strategy is a ‘critical part’ of the government’s plan for ‘post-Brexit Britain’ and will see ministers take on a ‘new, active role’ rather than ‘leaving businesses to get on with the job’.
The report cites battery technology in the automotive sector as one of the main focuses of the Strategy – with the government’s chief science advisor, Sir Mark Walport, to review the case for a new research institution by early 2017.
It states: “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. Drawing together these battery, energy storage and grid technologies is sensible because step-changes in innovation will likely involve all of them.
“For example smart grids that respond to the demands of consumers could potentially use new battery technologies, particularly storage in electric vehicles, to deliver power efficiently and at lower cost.”
The paper goes on to note the government is already testing the use of new grid technologies in various locations around the country ‘in preparation for the shift to electric vehicles’, and is investing £600 million in support to accelerate the transition to ultra low emission vehicles.
On changes to energy infrastructure, the paper notes: “The Office for Low Emission Vehicles is leading work across the Government to improve our understanding of the system impacts and opportunities of the shift to electric vehicles.
“We are also exploring the potential opportunities offered by hydrogen fuel technologies across multiple applications, including heating, energy storage and transportation.”
The government will consult with businesses over its proposed Industrial Strategy in the weeks to come.