The UK government’s plans outlined this week to boost electric vehicle take-up have been largely welcomed by the car industry.
As part of the government’s wider strategy to dramatically cut greenhouse emissions, the 368-page report includes a commitment to investing £620m in grants for EVs and street charging points, as well as a further £350m to help the automotive supply chain.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: “Consumers need choice and encouragement, irrespective of where they live or what they drive. The additional targeted funding for electric vehicles is welcome and will help ensure affordability for certain models.”
From 2024, car makers will also be mandated to sell a proportion of clean electric vehicles each year.
Although Boris Johnson’s administration has not yet said what percentage car makers will be required to sell, this will be the first time a European country has made it compulsory.
Paul Willcox, managing director of the Vauxhall car maker, said he “welcomes the UK government’s announcement to implement a zero-emission vehicle mandate, which will provide clarity to the UK motor industry and the rest of the electric vehicle ecosystem.”
Vauxhall has already committed to only selling fully electric new cars and vans from 2028 – seven years ahead of the government’s deadline of 2035.
Mr Wilcox added: “With our Ellesmere Port plant set to become the first electric vehicle-only factory within the Stellantis group, we look forward to working with the government on the detail of how a ZEV mandate can be implemented and help support a sustainable vehicle marketplace in the UK.”
However, although the industry is generally supportive of the grants, Auto Trader says Ministers should consider how that investment is targeted.
Auto Trader’s commercial director Ian Plummer said: “Our data shows that interest in electric vehicles is coming almost exclusively from wealthier postcodes. The comparatively high up-front cost of EVs is proving to be a massive barrier for people on average or below average incomes. Incentives are needed to bridge the gap between traditionally fuelled cars and EVs for those who simply cannot afford the ’green premium’.”
Other commitments include the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030. The sale of new hybrids will be allowed until 2035.