Smart Transport

Government has "no plan" for switch to EVs by 2035

The Government has been accused of not having a clear plan for how it will increase zero-emission car registrations from 11% to 100% in the next 14 years.

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report says the Government is facing a “huge challenge” in its goal of acheiving all new car registrations being zero-emission by 2035.

The committee said that up-front prices for zero-emission cars are still ‘too high’ for consumers and whilst the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging points is increasing, more will be required within a short period of time to support the growth of EVs.

Meg Hillier MP, chair of the committee, said: “The Government has a mountain to climb to get to all new cars in the UK emitting zero carbon in the next 14 years: to convince consumers and make the cars appealing, to make the car industry environmentally and socially compliant, to build the necessary infrastructure to support this radical shift and possibly biggest of all, to wean itself off carbon revenues.

“Yet once again what we’ve got is a government throwing up a few signs around base camp - and no let-up in demand for oversized, petrol- guzzling vehicles.

“This isn’t about more targets with no plan behind them inevitably getting missed - it’s about averting the real-world challenges that are bearing down on all of us. The Government needs to get the country behind it and lead the way in the global race against climate change.”

DfT and BEIS 'needs to do more' 

The Government recently set out the next steps towards the 2030 ICE ban, starting with a consultation this year on which hybrid vehicles will remain on sale from 2030 to 2035.

The Public Accounts Committee said the Department for Transport (DfT) and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) needs to do more to consider the practical application of the societal change.

The departments need to be ‘on top of the other consequences arising from this transition’, said the committee, including the impact on the skills and capabilities required to support the changeover in the UK vehicle fleet; the environmental and social implications of the switch-over both in the UK and across global supply chains; the impact on our future power needs; and the impact on the Government tax-take due to the loss of fuel duties.

Mike Hawes, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' chief executive, said: “The automotive industry shares government’s ambition for an electric revolution, a transformation that has already begun. However, as the Public Accounts Committee has made clear, we need a comprehensive and holistic plan to get us there in time.

“That plan must convince consumers to make the switch, it must provide the incentives that make electric cars affordable for all, and it must ensure recharging is as easy as refuelling – which means a massive and rapid rollout of infrastructure nationwide.

“Now is the time for government to match its world-leading ambitions with a world-class policy package.”

According to the committee, the departments have ‘no clear published plan’ setting out how they propose to manage the consequential impacts, who they will need to work with and the timetables for any action.

David Watson, CEO and founder of EV smart charging company Ohme, said: “MPs are right to highlight the need for a clearer roadmap towards electrification. But alongside more affordable EVs and investments in charging infrastructure, we also need to see a focus on rolling out smart charging solutions at scale.

“Not only will this significantly lower the running costs of EVs for drivers, but it will also future proof the grid in the face of increased energy demand as EVs becomes mainstream.”

The Government said it is on track to achieve its 2035 targets.

A spokesman said it was investing £2.8bn to help the car industry and drivers make the switch to electric.

Manufacturers' EV announcements

Ford recently called on policymakers, energy providers, local authorities, consumers, and the automotive industry to join forces on a nationwide electrification strategy.

The manufacturer has committed to sell only electric cars in Europe by 2030, with all Ford cars sold in the continent by 2026 expected to be zero-emissions capable.

Volvo has outlined its plans to become a fully electric car company by 2030 and will launch a new family of electric cars in the coming years.

Polestar, the EV-specialist brand owned by Volvo, said it is working to offer an emissions free vehicle by changing the way cars are made.

Watch now: Connecting Policy To Solutions Virtual Conference 2021

Smart Transport Conference returned on June 8th & 9th, to facilitate pivotal discussions on the future of transport. 

The UK’s most senior public and private sector transport leaders discussed the impact of Covid-19, achieving the Government’s decarbonisation ambitions, the need for more efficient living and better health, and much more.

Keynote speakers included: 

Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who spoke on BEIS's approach to decarbonising transport, particularly the electrification of the vehicle industry

Keith Williams, co-author of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, who spoke on rail’s role in integrated transport, decarbonisation and innovation.

Rachel Maclean, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Transport, who discussed the future of transport and its pivotal role in a ‘green recovery’ from the pandemic.


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