Three UK electric and plug-in hybrid research projects are to be launched by The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).

The schemes, backed by a GBP4.5m (US$6.6m) investment, will include 40 drivers and 3,000 consumer surveys, with findings due to be delivered by 2011.

Analysis will focus on plug-in vehicle consumer uptake, charging infrastructure and environmental benefits.

“Realising a self-sustaining mass market for plug-in vehicles is a huge challenge,” said ETI CEO David Clarke.

“By developing and robustly testing these pathways, we aim to act as a guiding light to support more than GBP300m of UK investment already committed to infrastructure development and consumer incentives for plug-in vehicles.”

In late February, the UK government announced a GBP230m ‘Plug-In Car Grant’ incentive programme offering motorists 25% off the cost of an electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen-powered car from January 2011.

Additionally, a ‘Plugged-In Places’ investment will see the installation of more than 11,000 charging posts in London, Milton Keynes and North East England. There will be a further opportunity in June 2010, for additional cities and regions to bid for Plugged-In Places funding. 

The ETI is a limited liability partnership between international industrial companies with a focus on energy and the UK government. It develops technologies that will help the UK meet its 2050 carbon reduction targets under the Climate Change Act.