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Government EV strategy needs rapid recharge, warns Lords committee
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
An aerial view directly above an electric vehicle charging station with electric car charging in a parking space

A House of Lords committee report, published today (06 Feb), has warned that the government needs to put its foot on the accelerator if the UK is to transition to electric vehicles (EVs) in time to meet net zero targets.

In the report, ‘EV strategy: rapid recharge needed’, the Environment and Climate Change Committee has warned that a combination of higher purchase costs, insufficient charging infrastructure and mixed messaging risks people not adopting electric cars.

‘Government must do more’

The inquiry was launched in August 2023 to identify the main obstacles and barriers to a successful and equitable transition to the Government’s EV target for passenger vehicles and to make clear and targeted recommendations for change to meet that target.

The committee examined a wide range of areas: the government’s overall approach to and messaging around the transition; the electric vehicles market and acquiring an electric vehicle; the end-of-life disposal of electric vehicles; national and regional infrastructure and charging issues and international perspectives and comparisons.

During the inquiry, the committee heard from a range of witnesses including members of the public, major car manufacturers, chargepoint operators, local authorities, distribution network operators, car dealerships and government ministers.

‘The evidence we received shows the Government must do more to get people to adopt EVs. If it fails to heed our recommendations the UK won’t reap the significant benefits of better air quality and will lag in the slow lane for tackling climate change.’

Chair of the inquiry

Boost consumer confidence

While welcoming the ZEV mandate on manufacturers, recent investment in the UK car manufacturing industry and initial support for local authorities, including the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) fund, the report calls on the government to act much faster.

This includes tackling the disparity in upfront costs between EVs and petrol and diesel cars and looking at targeted grants to incentivise the purchase of new electric cars.

After taking evidence from a wide range of witnesses and hearing from young people from across the UK, through its unique Youth Engagement Programme, the committee is also calling on the government to instil confidence in consumers.

It wants the government to explore options to incentivise secondhand electric car sales, including developing a ‘battery health standard’, plus a reform of road tax to give a clear steer on future motoring costs.

The 20% VAT rate applied to public charging should be reduced to 5%, in line with domestic electricity, and a positive vision of the EV transition should be communicated to consumers, promoting comprehensive, clear and accurate information.

Charging infrastructure

The committee wants the government to accelerate the rollout of the UK’s charging infrastructure by extending Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) funding for another three years.

It wants the government to consult on offering a ‘right to charge’ for tenants and leaseholders in multi-occupancy buildings, and is calling for a review of planning regulation to ensure that the rollout of EV infrastructure is not unduly delayed by out-dated regulation.

The government should also consult on mandating workplaces with designated car parking spaces to install EV chargepoints, the committee said.

Industry should be supported by further enhancing UK manufacturing and battery innovation, and
accelerating investment in UK vehicle and battery recycling facilities.

‘Surface transport is the UK’s highest emitting sector for CO2, with passenger cars responsible for over half those emissions. The evidence we received shows the Government must do more – and quickly – to get people to adopt EVs. If it fails to heed our recommendations the UK won’t reap the significant benefits of better air quality and will lag in the slow lane for tackling climate change.’

Chair of the inquiry

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