Government grants for EV charger installation; but is ‘green design’ dead?

February 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

volvo c30 electricThe government’s OLEV (Office for Low Emissions Vehicles) is putting up £37million to aid EV and plug-in vehicle recharging. Private EV owners/buyers can claim a grant to cover up to 75% of the cost of installing a charging point at their home (to a limit of £1000); local authorities can claim 75% of the cost of on-street facilities (including fast-chargers), as can railway operators for installing charging points at stations, and public-sector organisations and facilities such as police, NHS or local government departments can get a free installation. Full press release here, which also notes that over 3200 claims have been made for the plug-in car and plug-in van grants scheme up to the end of 2012. Claims October-December 2012 were 20% higher than for the previous quarter, suggesting that contrary to stories that EV sales are dead in the water, sales of plug-in cars continue to gain momentum (including plug-in hybrids now, of course).

  • Yet apparently ‘green design’ is so over, at least from a marketing point of view, because “tech has killed green” – check out this column at dezeen. Such are the whims and vagaries of style, etc., though the writer does make the point that, to some extent, “green has become normal” – i.e. designers are using lower-energy materials and processes now anyway, even if the finished product isn’t marketed as ‘green’ as such. Salient to transport/mobility, too, because if you can’t persuade people to make more sustainable transport choices based on their environmental beliefs and values, how else can you do it? Through appealing to their interest in tech, perhaps?
  • In a neat piece of synchronicity, I’ve just been reading a presentation (available here, under ‘Symposium: Identity and Car Use’) by Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh (Cardiff University, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research), who found that though self-identity, values and attitudes predict some environmentally-friendly behaviours (recycling, taking measures to save energy, for example) when it comes to travel choices, there is an inconsistency and disconnect between attitudes and actions. In other words, even if people see themselves as being ‘green’ and eco-friendly, that doesn’t necessarily translate into any changes in their transport/travel behaviour – they will still drive or fly. The influential factors are, says Whitmarsh, demographic – age, location, density of local area, availability of alternatives and soforth. But does the same hold true when it comes to self-identity as an early-adopter of technology? Is there more of a correlation between values and behaviour on this score? That’s what I’m researching…
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