Budget 2020: Further comment and analysis

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 15:57
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Tom Brewer, Head of Sales and Marketing, VWFS | Fleet: “The government has announced that they will be putting significant investment into supporting the switch to electric vehicles by confirming the 0% BiK rate for 2020-21 and extending the plug-in car grant to 2022-23, as well as providing support for plug-in vans, motorbikes and taxis. We are pleased to see the government taking real steps to help businesses lower their emissions for good. We hope that company car drivers and fleet managers feel incentivised to make the transition to electric vehicles on their road to zero. VWFS | Fleet is dedicated to supporting our customers and the wider industry through this period of change with our free EV tools and information packs”.

David Brennan, CEO of Nexus Vehicle Rental: “As we come to terms with the implications of Brexit, including the political and economic ambiguity of the last few years, we are now facing continued uncertainty surrounding the spread of Coronavirus and its impact on the country.

“Today’s Budget announcement highlights the need for businesses to remain flexible, agile and adaptable and we are positive that emergency measures to protect the health and wellbeing of the UK population will support individuals and businesses as we face this new challenge.

“Whilst looking after the wellbeing of our workforce, clients and suppliers’, the priority for the business will remain in delivering great service and keeping people and goods mobile, wherever and whenever it is safe to do so.

“We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement that there will be a £500 million investment in the charging hub roll-out for electric vehicles, as it has been clear for some time that the UK’s infrastructure requires further support to propel businesses and consumers towards the adoption of greener mobility solutions.

“Until this improved EV infrastructure is in place, we also welcome the continued freeze on fuel duty. Whilst committed to supporting businesses transition to greener mobility, we recognise that for those operating fleets, this has a huge impact on their bottom line and we are glad that the government continues to act in a way that protects the transport and logistics sector, which is critical to our national economy.

“As we see improved connectivity for supply chains and increased efficiency for goods and services across all borders, the UK’s wider economy should also benefit from this in the long term, while we take sensible measures to protect our economy in the short term.

“This coupled with the announcement of investments to build 4,000 miles of strategic roads and motorways to the tune of £27 billion, the transport and logistics sector should be buoyed by today’s Budget.”

Kevin Brundish, CEO of AMTE Power: “We welcome the Chancellor’s Budget pledge of £900 million towards green transport technology. It demonstrates the country is serious about meeting ambitious environmental targets and becoming an attractive place to invest in electric vehicles. Subsidies for fuel used in off-road vehicles – known as red diesel – will also be scrapped by 2020 – further supporting the transition to electrification.”

“With our plant based in Thurso, Scotland, we are pleased that the government is supporting local Scottish businesses with an additional £640 million in funding. Drawing investment into more rural and less densely populated areas will create jobs and close the divide between the north and the rest of the UK.”

“In addition, the £500 million pledged by the Government towards charging point infrastructure for electric vehicles will accelerate the market’s growth. However, more investment is needed towards building a robust UK manufacturing supply chain, as the demand for batteries is already greatly outstripping supply. Creating an onshore supply chain for the production of lithium-ion batteries would not only allow the UK to fulfil this demand, but also strengthen the UK’s automotive sector, making the country an attractive destination for international car-makers.”

“By investing in next-generation battery technology at home, the transition to electrification can be better supported, instead of relying on large scale manufacturers abroad. The coronavirus outbreak has brought into focus the uncertainty of relying on Far East suppliers within our supply chains. It is costly, and increases carbon footprint to have these batteries imported, especially when the UK has the talent and capabilities at home.”

Alan Barlow, director UK & Ireland at Centrica Business Solutions, said: “New funding to support the electric vehicle roll-out is a vital commitment from the Chancellor and should be welcome news for the many UK businesses seeking to electrify their fleets. Speaking to business leaders themselves, they clearly recognise the important operational role EVs play in meeting their decarbonisation goals but there is still concern over how to finance this significant change.

“While the measures announced today are another step forward on the path to mass adoption, businesses themselves must also start investing in a range of supporting technology if we are to see EVs become truly mainstream. It’s our view that on-site generation from solar panels, allied with battery storage and smart charging is vital for firms installing EV charging infrastructure on-premises. Not only will these technologies help firms to meet the additional energy demands of an electrified fleet independently of the grid, but through use of renewables, support overall carbon cutting and lower energy costs.”

Chris Russell, CEO and co-founder of Tonik Energy comments: “Abolishing the tax relief on red diesel is a step in the right direction, but a solid and well-rounded commitment beyond this is needed if we are to attain net-zero targets. By failing to end the freeze on fuel-duty, the Chancellor has missed a key opportunity to ensure the UK is leading the way on climate change.

“Countries around the world are looking to the UK as a leader on climate-change. We urge the government to go further so to reassure that international climate commitments are being taken seriously.”

Tanya Sinclair, Policy Director – UK & Ireland, ChargePoint: “ChargePoint welcomes the investment of £403 million for the Plug-in Car Grant, extending it to 2022-23 in today’s budget. The PICG has been highly successful in seeding the early market for electric cars and vans.  Now that this market is reaching a tipping point of mainstream adoption, this extension is vital in supporting purchasing of new EVs and essential if we are going to reach full EV adoption by 2035.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced significant investment into infrastructure for Electric Vehicles (EVs) in today’s Budget. This will ensure that drivers are never more than 30 miles away from a rapid charging station.

UHY Hacker Young, the national accountancy group says that this measure could boost uptake of EVs amongst drivers and help the Government meet its targets for at least half of new cars to be ultra-low emission by 2030.

David Kendrick, Head of Automotive at UHY Hacker Young says: “This is a welcome and much-needed step if the Government is to go ahead with its plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2035.”

“Electric vehicle charging points are still few and far between, so any measure taken to improve access to charging infrastructure is positive.”

“It will be interesting to see how the plans will be rolled out and whether these will help to make EVs a more commercially viable option to consumers, especially those in less urbanised areas.”

James O’Brien, Product Group Director, at MIVOLT: “We’re delighted to see significant contributions to making our transport cleaner, with a strong focus on EVs and R&D funding in today’s budget. It’s essential the infrastructure is available to support our transition to a cleaner, greener transport system where users can have a simple refuelling experience comparable to today. Our vision is for customers to be in and out of an electric charging station in the time you would usually refuel your petrol or diesel cars. Superfast charging is essential to this – and we’re proud to be playing our part in researching solutions for the future helping the country to accelerate its transition to EVs.”

John Murray, Principle Analyst at Delta-EE: “We welcome today’s budget’s announcement of £500m for rapid charging hubs – but we need to consider how we power this too. There are no two ways about it, smart charging will be critical in how we balance our networks in future. As EV volumes continue to rise, a smart approach will be required to avoid power cuts or curtail the supply of power to EVs, as well as helping energy suppliers to match what they buy with what they sell to customers.”

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