- Lords Committee calls for immediate government action on UK EV strategy.
- Challenges include low EV adoption, consumer concerns, and lack of information.
- Urgent recommendations focus on cost reduction, charging infrastructure acceleration, and EV adoption incentives.
Lords Committee urges swift reforms for accelerated EV adoption in the UK
The Environment and Climate Change Committee released a report underscoring the urgent need for the UK government to reinvigorate its electric vehicle (EV) strategy. The report, titled ‘EV strategy: rapid recharge needed’ calls for action to address customer concerns, lack of information, and, crucially, cost reduction. The stakes are high, with the success of the transition to EVs playing a pivotal role in achieving the government’s net-zero target by 2050.
Despite the commitment to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035, the current EV landscape paints an interesting picture. Just 3% of cars on UK roads are electric, hampered by persistent hurdles such as elevated costs and an inconsistent public charging infrastructure.
Consumer apprehension looms large, fuelled by concerns about the reliability, affordability, and swiftness of EV charging. Witnesses emphasised the dire need for the government to take the reins, pointing to a conspicuous absence of a reliable source for comprehensive and accurate information.
Beyond the environmental gains, the report underscores the economic advantages tied to a successful EV transition, putting pressure on the government to expedite necessary measures.
Acknowledging the hurdles, the Prime Minister’s call for more time to address lingering issues was met with a counter call for immediate action. The Committee is pushing for the government to publish a roadmap through 2035, laying out definitive steps to meet their ambitious target.
Key recommendations put forth include addressing upfront costs, hastening the charging infrastructure rollout, ensuring fair charging pricing, and channelling investments into UK recycling for EV batteries.
Baroness Parminter, chair of the inquiry, commented:
“Surface transport is the UK’s highest emitting sector for CO2, with passenger cars responsible for over half those emissions.
The evidence we received shows the Government must do more – and quickly – to get people to adopt EVs. If it fails to heed our recommendations the UK won’t reap the significant benefits of better air quality and will lag in the slow lane for tackling climate change.”
Incentives for EV adoption took centre stage, with proposals for grants to bridge cost gaps, exploring incentives for second-hand EV sales, and a call to reform road tax for transparent insight into future motoring expenses.
To amplify the charging infrastructure, the Committee advocated for extending Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) funding, introducing a ‘right to charge’ for tenants, and overhauling outdated planning regulations causing unwarranted delays.
Recognising the effectiveness of lower Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) tax rates, the report stressed retaining them while strategically planning for their gradual tapering and exit.
Quentin Willson, FairCharge Founder:
“FairCharge has been saying that the Government is falling behind on electrification, sending out mixed messages to consumers and not correcting the many myths and misinformation out there. With one million EVs now on our roads there are simple and relatively inexpensive levers that the Government can use to increase adoption further. An official battery state of health certificate on used EVs is a good idea as is cutting the 20% VAT on public charging to 5%. We need a government EV champion to spur on growth and investment before it’s too late.”
The urgency is palpable as the report concludes, placing the onus on the government to swiftly address these recommendations. The success of the UK’s EV transition hangs in the balance, and timely action is paramount to ensure the nation reaps the benefits and maintains momentum in the fight against climate change. With the UK just hitting it’s millionth EV registration, is it time for a new age of emobility?