SMMT welcomes government support for ultra low carbon vehicles

16 April 2009 #SMMT News

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has welcomed today’s government announcement incentivising the shift to ultra-low carbon transport but says immediate attention must focus on guaranteeing the UK industry’s long-term future at the heart of low carbon technology development.


As part of government’s £250m green motoring scheme announced within the Heathrow expansion plan, the initiative details plans to encourage consumers to buy ultra-low carbon cars by offering £2,000 – £5,000 incentives. It also sets aside £20m to create the infrastructure needed to support the low carbon technology in key cities across the UK.


The initiative highlights the importance of an integrated approach between government and industry outlining the path to be taken through low, lower and ultra-low carbon technology. Demonstrating the need for a portfolio of technology to drive down road transport emissions, the high-level technology roadmap developed by government’s New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team (NAIGT), with the support of the UK motor industry, outlines the move towards the decarbonisation of UK roads over the coming years.


Commenting on the announcement, SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said, “Government has shown its commitment to developing a market for ultra-low carbon vehicles in the UK but we must now ensure that UK design, R&D and manufacturing are at the heart of this growing industry. The motor industry is in the middle of its greatest economic challenge and immediate action to preserve the UK sector in the short-term is essential if we are to stake our claim in the global development of low carbon technology for the future.”



At €20 bn, the automotive sector is Europe’s largest investor in R&D, driving industry forward and helping deliver more sustainable motoring for the 21st century. Technological innovation has helped car and CV manufacturers slash CO2 and air quality emissions from vehicles. New diesel cars for example emit 95% less soot from the tailpipe than those made 15 years ago and average new car CO2 has been cut by 16% since 1997.


The energy needed to produce each vehicle is down 12%, water use is down 9% and waste to landfill is down 25%, compared to 2006 performance.  CO2 emissions per vehicle produced have fallen 14% in the last year and by 45% since 1999. Almost 10,000 tonnes of waste have been prevented from entering landfill sites. For more details, download SMMT’s ninth annual Sustainability Report from the SMMT website


Why is the automotive sector important to the UK economy?

·          27 car and CV manufacturers operating in the UK

·          1.75m cars and commercial vehicles produced each year

·          £51b turnover

·          £9.5 billion value added

·          Over 800,000 UK jobs

·          UK automotive manufacturing supplies over 100 markets worldwide offering some resilience to the UK issues

·          New cars emit less CO2 than older models – the average new car CO2 emissions have fallen 16% in the last decade

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