Car Makers Urge Government Action to Boost Electric Vehicle Adoption

Car manufacturers are calling on the government to take proactive measures to make electric vehicles (EVs) mainstream. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) emphasized the importance of government support in securing investments in UK factories for EV production. Critics have raised concerns about the amount of taxpayers’ money being spent on these investments. However, SMMT CEO Mike Hawes argued that such support is crucial for the industry’s transition to EV manufacturing.

According to SMMT figures, the market share for battery electric new cars in the UK is expected to reach 17.8% by the end of the year, a significant increase from 0.7% in 2018. However, the surge in demand has primarily been driven by fleet purchases rather than private buyers. The SMMT highlighted the lack of incentives for consumer purchases of EVs in the UK compared to other major European car markets.

Hawes called for targeted support, including reducing VAT on public charging and EV purchases, exempting EVs from expensive car supplements in vehicle excise duty, and implementing a national plan to improve the charging network. He emphasized that creating a mass market for EVs necessitates helping consumers transition more quickly. In addition to commercial considerations, Hawes argued that it is a matter of social justice to ensure a fair transition to EVs across the country.

A survey commissioned by the SMMT revealed that 68% of non-EV drivers in the UK are interested in making the switch to electric, but only 2% have plans to do so this year. Alex Smith, managing director of Volkswagen Group UK, pointed out that the progressive withdrawal of incentives has caused stagnation in demand from private buyers. Smith highlighted the need for clear explanations to consumers regarding the affordability of EVs over the entire ownership cycle.

In conclusion, car manufacturers are urging the government to take action to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in the UK. They propose targeted support measures and incentives to make EVs more affordable and encourage a faster transition. With the ban on new conventionally fueled cars and vans set for 2030, the industry and society as a whole must work together to make EVs mainstream.

– Neil Lancefield and Patrick Daly, PA