Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Britain needs more government support to boost electric vehicle adoption, says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called for greater government support to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK. Mike Hawes, CEO of SMMT, has highlighted the importance of investing in manufacturing and the market for a successful transition to electric vehicles.

According to the SMMT, the UK has seen a significant increase in the market share of new battery electric cars, rising from 0.7% in 2018 to an estimated 17.8% by the end of this year. However, this increase in demand is primarily due to fleet purchases and not private buyers. Private participation in the procurement of battery-electric vehicles has fallen from more than a third in the first half of 2022 to less than a quarter in the same period this year.

Although the UK has the most ambitious timetable to ban the sale of new conventionally powered vehicles and vans by 2030, with a ban on hybrid vehicles five years later, there is currently a lack of incentives for consumers wanting to buy electric vehicles. To encourage private consumers to switch to electric vehicles, Hawes has proposed a number of support measures, such as: B. the reduction of VAT on the purchase and public charging of electric vehicles, the exemption of electric vehicles from the expensive vehicle surcharge in the vehicle tax and the introduction of a national plan to improve the charging network.

While a survey commissioned by SMMT found that more than two-thirds of non-electric vehicle drivers in the UK intend to switch to electric vehicles, only a small percentage plan to do so this year. Alex Smith, chief executive of Volkswagen Group UK, attributed the lack of demand from private buyers to the progressive dismantling of incentives and the perception that electric vehicles were relatively expensive. He stressed the importance of educating consumers about the long-term affordability of electric vehicles in terms of running costs and fuel.

Finally, SMMT calls for greater government support and targeted incentives to enable a fair and efficient transition to electric vehicles in the UK. They view this support not only as a business imperative, but also as a social justice issue to ensure a just transition across the country.

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