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UK Government revs up motorcycle market

Motorcycles and scooters will join cars, vans, trucks and buses in the government’s drive for greener vehicles.Motorcycles and scooters will join cars, vans, trucks and buses in the government’s drive for greener vehicles, Business Minister Matthew Hancock announced.

Up to £7.5 million will be set aside to boost the uptake for electric 2 wheelers and help bikers bridge the cost gap between a zero emission electric motorcycle and conventional petrol versions.

The grant could offer up to £1500 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 said:

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 research and development and manufacturing facilities. Supporting new technologies is a key part of our long-term economic plan.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said:

This £7.5 million 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 £500 million Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) programme for the period 2015 to 2020.

A spokesman from Mahindra said:

Mahindra welcomes this statement of ambition and commitment by the UK government – further enhancing what is already one of the most comprehensive packages of support for the move to e-mobility anywhere in the world. The Mahindra GenZe is an innovative, zero emission electric 2 wheeler, that 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 2 wheelers when they come to the UK market in late 2015.

The minister also announced that 7 new hydrogen projects have been given the green light today. This £6.6 million 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 7 hydrogen projects are:

  • ITM Power
    • 2 new hydrogen refuelling stations in Brentford and Croydon
    • 4 upgrades to Sheffield and London stations
  • Air Products
    • 2 upgrades to existing stations in Hatton Cross and Hendon
    • 1 upgrade to a mobile refuelling station to support conferences and test drives of fuel cell vehicles
  • Fuel Cell Systems
    • 1 new mobile station based in Southern UK
  • University of South Wales
    • 1 upgrade to an existing station in Port Talbot
  • Honda UK
    • 1 upgrade to an existing station in Swindon

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles share a large proportion of the electric motor and drive train technology with other electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles; it is the energy storage/conversion devices that are different. The fuel cell is an electrochemical device that can be refuelled quickly – it will continue to generate power so long as it is fed with hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles have a similar range to their internal combustion engine equivalents. They are highly efficient devices (50 to 60% compared to an average of around 20% for internal combustion engines) that produce no emissions or pollutants at the tail-pipe and much reduced overall well-to-wheel emissions when compared with today’s petrol and diesel engines.

  1. Hydrogen is a clean energy carrier. When used as fuel in fuel cell systems it does not produce any carbon emissions (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, unburned hydrocarbons or particulates). Therefore, using hydrogen will contribute to the improvement of air quality and the reduction of CO2.
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