Government lacks plan for ‘huge’ EV transition challenge

The Public Accounts Committee has warned the government it faces a ‘huge challenge’ to get new car registrations to 100 per cent zero-emission from 2035.

The government has set ambitious targets to phase out new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and for all new cars to be zero-emission from 2035. However, with just 11 per cent of new car registrations for ultra-low emission cars in 2020, ministers say that achieving this ambition will require convincing consumers of the affordability and practicality of zero-emission cars and addressing the current very uneven take-up across the UK.

Additionally, while the number of charging points is increasing rapidly, many more will be required within a very short period of time to support the envisaged growth in electric cars in the UK, and the PAC is not convinced the government is on track with this crucial infrastructure.

The committee says that the Department for Transport and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will need to do much more to consider the practical application of this large societal change, and put consumers at the heart of it.

Meg Hillier, 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.”

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