The King Review of low-carbon cars in the UK issued a call for evidence, inviting views from all interested parties on how best to achieve substantial reductions in road transport emissions over the next 25 years, as part of the UK’s strategy to tackle climate change.
The Review, operated out of HM Treasury, is tasked with examining the vehicle and fuel technologies which over the next 25 years could help to decarbonize road transport, particularly cars. It is led by Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University and former Director of Advanced Engineering at Rolls-Royce plc, working with Sir Nicholas Stern, author of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change in October 2006.
The Review is building on the work of the Energy White Paper, the Government’s Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy, and the Technology Strategy Board’s Innovation Platform for Low Carbon Vehicles. The deadline for responses to the call for evidence is 20 August 2007; the Review will publish an analytical report later in 2007.
The Review will provide an overview of the range of technologies currently under development, as well as the potential scope for more radical solutions, and an assessment of what is likely to be achievable. The review will look at the technical, environmental and economic aspects of new technology. As far as possible, it will assess the benefits of transport technologies in terms of contribution to reducing total CO2 emissions and not just road-transport generated emissions.
Road transport emissions account for approximately 20% of the UK’s CO2 emissions. Reduction of these emissions, in the UK and internationally, is likely to be one of the most significant challenges in meeting our environmental ambitions and tackling climate change. We are therefore keen to obtain a wide range of inputs from relevant parties to support our review of this critical area.—Professor Julia King
The Energy White Paper. The Energy White Paper, published by the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in May, sets out a framework for action to address energy and global warming risks and challenges. Alongside the energy white paper, the Department for transport (DfT) published a Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy which describes its approach to stimulating innovation in low carbon transport technologies.
Broadly, the UK is looking at technologies with the potential to make a significant contribution to carbon reduction in the road transport sector in the near-medium term, as well as a number of technologies with longer term potential to deliver very large scale carbon reductions.
Technologies with the clearest potential to contribute in the near future include:
Continued incremental improvements to petrol and diesel engines;
A range of new and emerging lightweight materials;
Nearer market hybrid gasoline-electric or diesel-electric vehicles; and
First generation biofuels (bioethanol made from sugar or starch crops and biodiesel made from oil crops and wastes).
Technology options which may become very significant over longer timescales are, according to the government’s current thinking:
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles;
Fully electric vehicles;
Second-generation biofuels made from a wide range of biomass sources; and
To support the development of low-carbon technologies, the UK government will make three key investments:
The DfT will contribute an additional £5 million (US$9.8 million) per year to the low carbon transport theme of the Energy Technologies Institute.
In conjunction with the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the DfT and EPSRC will help finance and develop a new Low Carbon Vehicle Innovation Platform providing coordination and up to £30 million (US$59 million) of support from 2008/09 for UK technology research aimed at accelerating the development of relevant technology. The Government may extend the program to run over a number of years.
With initial funding of £20 million, the DfT will develop a new program of public sector procurement to promote and support low carbon vehicle development, including small fleet demonstrations to provide early markets for new innovative lower carbon vehicle technologies.
The UK government has also set a fleet average car procurement target of 130g CO2/km by 2010/11 for new cars purchased by Government and used for administrative operations.