Motor industry reacts to UK’s ‘Build Back Greener’ EV strategy

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With the COP26 global climate summit around the corner, the UK government has announced another push towards electric vehicles (EVs) as part of an overall shift to a carbon-neutral economy. 

Ministers are investing £620m in grants for electric vehicles and street charging points. Car makers will also be forced to sell a proportion of clean vehicles each year. An extra £350m is promised to help the automotive supply chain move to electric.

The new plan set out by the government is supposed to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to reach a target of net zero by 2050.

The announcement comes 12 days before global leaders meet in Glasgow for the COP26 summit to negotiate how to curb climate change.

Says Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive:

“The automotive industry is putting zero-emission vehicles on Britain’s roads at pace beyond all forecasts, such is the choice and appeal of these new models. A well-designed, flexible regulatory framework could help maintain or even increase this pace to ensure we deliver on our shared decarbonisation ambitions.

“Consumers need choice and encouragement, irrespective of where they live or what they drive. The additional targeted funding for electric vehicles is welcome and will help ensure affordability for certain models. To ensure we have the reliable, accessible and nationwide chargepoint network this transition needs, however, requires a similar regulatory approach.

“The announcement of additional funds for on-street residential charging must energise much-needed private sector investment but consumers will only have confidence in the future if there are commensurate and binding requirements on the infrastructure sector. Combining regulatory commitments with financial ones is the key to a successful transition to zero-emission road transport.”

Adds Paul Willcox, Managing Director, Vauxhall:

“Vauxhall welcomes the UK government’s announcement to implement a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate which will provide clarity to the UK motor industry and the rest of the electric vehicle ecosystem, on the basis of a 360-degree approach. 

“Vauxhall believes a ZEV mandate can work in the UK provided there are complementary targets on the other key parts of the electric vehicle ecosystem which are key to driving Britain to a more sustainable transport infrastructure.  With our Ellesmere Port plant set to become the first electric vehicle only factory within the Stellantis group, we look forward to working with the government on the detail of how a ZEV mandate can be implemented and help support a sustainable vehicle marketplace in the UK.”

Vauxhall has committed to only selling fully electric new cars and vans from 2028 – seven years ahead of the government’s deadline of 2035. 

Chris Price
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