A dozen cities bidding for a share of a £35m fund to become centres of excellence for low emission vehicles have been announced by transport minister Baroness Kramer and business minister Matt Hancock.

The Go Ultra Low city scheme will reward cities that demonstrate the most potential to become internationally outstanding examples for the adoption of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) in a local area.

The funding has been announced alongside an additional £30m to enable local authorities and bus operators to replace existing vehicles with greener, cutting-edge alternatives to help clean up air quality.

Baroness Kramer said: “This funding is an unequivocal signal from government that we are committed to making ultra-low emission vehicles a practical and viable choice for more people.

“Today’s shortlist of 12 Go Ultra Low cities from across the country is an important part of our effort to improve air quality and establish the UK as a global leader in the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles.

“The additional £30m investment in low emission buses is also a fantastic opportunity for local authorities who want innovative, cost efficient public transport in their communities.

“This can help to transform people’s quality of life in their cities and build a stronger economy and is an important step towards our 2050 vision, when almost every car and van in the UK will be an ultra-low emission vehicle.”

Hancock added: “The government is working hand in hand with business to increase the uptake of electric vehicles across the country. This investment will improve local air quality, reduce carbon emissions, and create growth opportunities for firms who develop and manufacture this kind of technology.

“Our 12-strong shortlist containing cities from London to Dundee will now be whittled down to up to 4 to decide who will share £35m of government funding. Supporting new technologies is a key part of our long-term economic plan.

The 12 cities and authorities shortlisted are:

• Greater London Authority

• West Yorkshire Combined Authority

• North East Combined Authority

• City of York Council

• West of England

• Dundee City Council

• Sheffield City Council

• Milton Keynes Council

• Department for Regional Development of Northern Ireland

• Oxford City Council

• Nottingham City Council

• Leicester City Council

They will be invited to fully develop their proposals over summer and the winners will be announced in the autumn.