EVs Could Get Priority on the Road in Some Parts of Britain

If you live in Britain and drive an EV, you might get a nice perk come 2020.

The British government has proposed clean-air zones for five cities by the year 2020, with the idea of incentivizing drivers to choose cleaner and greener cars. Older commercial vehicles, which account for more pollution, will be restricted.

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The five cities are Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton. The zones are a response to the British Supreme Court ruling that ordered the government to take action to meet European clean-air standards.

“We need to tackle air pollution and creating Clean Air Zones will improve the quality of life for people who live and work in our towns and cities, both now and in the future,” said environment minister Therese Coffey.

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Electric vehicles could get special privileges within the zones, such as exemption from one-way streets or priority at stoplights.

“It may be that in a one-way system they have an extra lane in which electric vehicles can go against the traffic or that they have filter lanes at traffic lights,” a government spokesperson said.

Not every thinks EVs should get perks, though.

“Incentives for electric vehicles such as use of bus lanes or preferential parking are good short term catalysts, but when EVs become mainstream congestion will still be the big issue. We are still somewhat baffled as to how EVs can realistically be given priority at traffic lights,” British Automobile Association president Edmund King said. He noted that eight in 10 of drivers do support actions that improve air quality, but he also claims many drivers see the zones as money-making schemes by the government.

Registrations for ultra-low-emissions vehicles in Britain are up 250 percent compared to the same period in 2014.

BBC