Nearly £2BILLION to be made available to help motorists buy and charge electric cars

Image credit: LEVC

Nearly £2billion will be made available to help motorists buy and charge Electric Vehicles (EV), following the Prime Minister’s announcement to stop the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has today set out his ambitious ten point plan for a green industrial revolution which he hopes will create and support up to 250,000 British jobs.

Covering clean energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies, the Prime Minister’s blueprint will allow the UK to forge ahead with eradicating its contribution to climate change by 2050, particularly crucial in the run up to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next year.

The push towards EV technology will form a big part of the Prime Minister’s plans. The Government will back car manufacturing bases including in the West Midlands, North East and North Wales to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles and invest in the national infrastructure to better support electric vehicles.

Following consultation with car manufacturers and sellers, the Prime Minister has confirmed that the UK will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, ten years earlier than planned. However, there will be an extension to the sale of hybrid cars and vans that can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe until 2035.

To support the move, the Prime Minister has announced:

  • £1.3billion to accelerate the rollout of chargepoints for electric vehicles in homes, streets and on motorways across England, so people can more easily and conveniently charge their cars.

  • £582million in grants for those buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles to make them cheaper to buy and incentivise more people to make the transition.

  • Nearly £500million to be spent in the next four years for the development and mass-scale production of electric vehicle batteries, as part of our commitment to provide up to £1billion, boosting international investment into our strong manufacturing bases including in the Midlands and North East.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC Head of Policy, said: “With the Government formally bringing forward the date for banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030, the car industry and those responsible for charging infrastructure now have an enormous task on their hands. Production lines that for decades have been set up to build cars powered with internal combustion engines will have to be transformed to allow manufacturers to profitably build a wider range of EV models in sufficient quantities. Meanwhile the country’s public charging network will need to grow exponentially to cater for the surge in EVs on the road.

“There’s also lots for consumers to get used to in order for them to feel confident about going electric. Running an EV is currently very different to a petrol or diesel car which can be refuelled in a matter of minutes, so those switching in the next few years face a big learning curve which involves different types of chargers, connectors and varying charging speeds.

“And while many EV drivers will charge at home and start with a ‘full tank’, this won’t be possible for everyone, particularly those without off-street parking. Right now running an EV requires a level of planning as charging generally takes significantly longer than a visit to a fuel forecourt. While the early EV adopters are motivated to cope with this, some drivers could find it daunting and inconvenient. Some of these problems will disappear as the average range of EVs increases, but it’s vital that the Government continues to invest in developing a fast, reliable and widely available network of chargers that support electric vehicle owners no matter what their circumstances or travel plans. Charging aside, EVs will also spell the end of the manual gearbox that so many drivers will have been used to.

Image credit: Dynamo Taxi

“But for the time being the biggest barrier to going electric remains the comparatively high upfront vehicle cost, so we hope the Government’s announcement will pave the way to lower list prices, thereby accelerating take-up. This in turn will help lead to EVs being more readily available on the second-hand market which is where the majority of people choose to buy their vehicles.”

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “We share government’s ambition for leadership in decarbonising road transport and are committed to the journey. Manufacturers have invested billions to deliver vehicles that are already helping thousands of drivers switch to zero, but this new deadline, fast-tracked by a decade, sets an immense challenge.

“We are pleased, therefore, to see Government accept the importance of hybrid transition technologies – which drivers are already embracing as they deliver carbon savings now – and commit to additional spending on purchase incentives. Investment in EV manufacturing capability is equally welcome as we want this transition to be ‘made in the UK’, but if we are to remain competitive – as an industry and a market – this is just the start of what’s needed.

“Success will depend on reassuring consumers that they can afford these new technologies, that they will deliver their mobility needs and, critically, that they can recharge as easily as they refuel. For that, we look to others to step up and match our commitment. We will now work with government on the detail of this plan, which must be delivered at pace to achieve a rapid transition that benefits all of society, and safeguards UK automotive manufacturing and jobs.”

Andy Eastlake, LowCVP (Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership) Managing Director, said: “This is a critical milestone for the UK’s automotive sector and for car drivers, and a vital part of the plan as we strive to achieve net zero by 2050. Since the invention of the internal combustion engine in the 1870s, the ICE has dominated the landscape and transformed the way we live. Now we must embrace the solutions that will allow us to continue to be mobile but without contributing to climate change.

“The UK is Europe’s second-largest car market and this commitment represents 50% more vehicles than the combined European countries with similar objectives. So we’re setting a bold example to countries around the world as we prepare for next year’s climate summit in Glasgow.

“Now, battery technology has come of age and the capabilities of electric cars are rising fast while costs are falling. Simple economics is already beginning to drive this transition, regardless of all the other benefits.

"However, don’t underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead. This throws down the gauntlet to industry, government and the public to get behind this transition, and the real work starts now.

“We believe the targets are achievable, appropriate and many LowCVP members called for exactly this timing in order to maximise the impact on greenhouse gas emissions, but it will require partnership working at an unprecedented scale; between industries, and with government and the public to get us where we’ll need to be.

“Already with the Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce, LowCVP is at the centre of tackling crucial aspects of the detailed cross-sectoral work needed to make this target a reality. With our members, we will focus on addressing the other challenges presented and will support government to achieve shared objectives.”

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