BMW i3 electric car charging
Electric car drivers to get free parking and use of bus lanes in some UK citiesIBTimes UK

Electric car owners in the UK will soon be able to park for free, drive in bus lanes, and top up their batteries from chargers connected to street lights for free. The incentives are part of £40m of funding split across Nottingham, Derby, Bristol, Milton Keynes and London.

The five locations were named as the winners of the government's Go Ultra Low competition, which asked for urban areas to propose ways which would increase electric car ownership. While electric and plug-in hybrid cars are themselves already attractive to drivers looking to switch from petrol and diesel, the spartan charging infrastructure is still a long way behind the nationwide petrol station network.

Rapid charging hubs, street lights which double as chargers, 25,000 parking spaces and the ability to drive in bus lanes are all being touted as incoming incentives for drivers of electric and hybrid cars. It is claimed the parking spaces will save drivers up to £1,300 per year.

The incentives are as follows:


  • Awarded £13m to create "neighbours of the future" which prioritise ultra low emissions vehicles in several boroughs
  • Proposals include "over a dozen" streets in Hackney getting new charging infrastructure, such as car-charging street lights.
  • Harrow will develop a low emission zone with free parking and traffic priority given to drivers of plug-in vehicles, such as the free use of bus lanes

Milton Keynes

  • Awarded £9m to open a city centre 'Electric Vehicle Experience Centre' to provide consumer advice and short-term loans of electric vehicles for drivers to try out before they buy
  • Proposal to make all 20,000 parking spaces free for electric vehicles
  • Allow electric vehicles to use bus lanes


  • Awarded £7m to give free parking to electric vehicles
  • Allow access to three carpool lanes across the city
  • Install 80 new chargers (some 'fast', some 'rapid')
  • Offer to lease electric vehicles for up to four weeks to help consumers better understand the technology and how the city's charging infrastructure works

Nottingham and Derby

  • Awarded £6m to install 230 chargers and offer discounted parking to electric vehicle drivers
  • Allow electric vehicles to use 13 miles of bus lanes along key routes
  • Investment into scheme which will let businesses try electric and hybrid vehicles before they buy