The BEIS Select Committee Report on Electric Vehicles has today called upon the government to bring the ban on diesel and petrol vehicles forward by eight years to 2032.
However this is at a time when the government has recently announced the removal of the plug-in car grant for plug-in hybrids, and the reduction in the amount of the grant for pure EVs, with little advanced notice – thereby making it more difficult for consumers to make the switch, as well as reducing the incentive for car makers to bring vehicles such as PHEVs to market.
These announcements also come during a period when BEIS has been running a roadshow to promote EVs at four locations around the UK, during ‘Green GB Week’.
It appears that, despite the Prime Minister’s recent Zero Emission Vehicle Summit, the government is not able to demonstrate any coherent, joined-up policy about EVs. Both the industry and consumers need as much certainty as possible to invest in EVs. Is this yet more evidence that all government bandwidth is being taken up by Brexit?, and there’s no capability left to listen to the automotive industry and implement consistent policies towards EVs.
The government is also raising the Benefit in Kind tax on Electric Vehicles from 13% this year to 16% next year – before reducing it to 2% in April 2020. A rise in EV BIK to 16% is yet another policy that is providing an obstacle to increased take-up of EVs, and shows that the Treasury isn’t aligned with the work that OLEV is tasked to do to promote EVs.
This is what Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive has said: “Government’s 2040 ambition was already extremely challenging, so to fast-track that by eight years would be nigh on impossible. We said we need world class infrastructure and world class incentives to have any chance of delivering so the recent cuts to the Plug-in Car Grant and lack of charging facilities – both of which are severely criticised by the Committee – show just how difficult it would be to accelerate this transition.
“Zero emission vehicles make up just 0.6% of the market meaning consumer appetite would have to grow by some 17,000% in just over a decade. This is unrealistic and rejects the evidence put forward by SMMT on behalf of the industry, which is investing billions into these technologies but which recognises consumers need greater confidence and support if they are to buy these vehicles in the numbers we all want.”
BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney commented:
“The Government’s electric vehicle strategy needs to move from one based on visions to one based on actions. If India, China and Scotland feel able to set a target of banning new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032, then the UK should be brave enough to meet that challenge as well.
“As the purchasers of more than 50% of all new vehicles sold in the UK each year, the vehicle rental and leasing industry is more than capable of delivering this transition to zero emission transport – if the government can provide the right supportive environment.
“The Government needs to do a lot more than just boost the roll-out of electric charging points. We need a comprehensive and joined up set of national and local incentives for electric vehicle users, plus a clear roadmap for how they will be taxed.
“At the moment, we have a misguided strategy that is withdrawing incentives and raising taxes for electric vehicles at the exact time we are trying to drive uptake. The coming Budget offers a perfect opportunity for the Government to address these glaring policy gaps. The whole automotive industry is speaking with one voice on this, but no-one in Government appears to be listening.”