It’s been a good year so far for EV news with Tesla’s Model S success, the announcement of a smaller, more affordable Tesla, and the release of their patents. Other developments, like Bhutan trying to switch to electric vehicles, only have added to it.
Now comes the announcement that the UK government is funding a conversion of its fleets to plug-in cars and vans. It isn’t precisely clear if this means all-electric vehicles or if it also includes plug-in hybrids. Called the £5 million ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) readiness project, it also provides funds for charging stations.
At any rate, the Model S has been reported to be in the running for purchase by the UK government to add more EVs to its fleets. It may be a matter of language: in the US, a “plug-in” may refer to a plug-in hybrid — like a Toyota Prius– with the ability to be recharged through a charger.
From online reports, it sounds as if the new UK government vehicles will be all-electric. A PR spokesperson for Tesla said, “The Model S we understand will be under evaluation for inclusion. It would be great to see California-built Teslas transporting Her Majesty’s ministers on official business across London.”
Does it matter if they turn out to be all-electric versus plug-in hybrids? Yes, because all-electric vehicles are not going to be using any fossil fuels and therefore could save the government money in the long run.
Also, it sort of sends a signal that electric cars are mainstream if governments buy them, because they tend to be more middle of the road. In other words, they aren’t usually perceived as being radicals. Generally, government officials are seen as staid.
Of course, it would be a nod to both environmental and public health awareness. Vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions are obviously going to contributing less to air pollution, and London has had some issues with air quality due to all the gas-powered vehicles and congestion. “I am delighted the Government Car Service is leading the move to electric vehicles and I will be one of the first in line to use one. This is the right thing to do, with much lower running costs and close to zero emissions, these vehicles will save the taxpayer money and be much greener,” commented Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.
The first wave is expected to introduce 150 of the new vehicles, with another wave bringing in 135 later. Somewhat short of 300 vehicles doesn’t sound like much, but they will be the first, so there is a attention factor, if not a promotional bent as well.
Put it this way, if top American government officials in the District of Columbia were seen riding around in all-electric vehicles, it would get the attention of many citizens.
Because other electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf are not as distinguished looking roomy or long-ranged as the Model S is, it would seem the Tesla sedan might have an advantage for transporting officials.
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