Electric car being charged

Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener

The government has published its strategy to achieve the decarbonisation in all UK sectors by 2050.

Prime minister Boris Johnson giving a speech

Boris Johnson introducing the Net Zero Strategy at the Science Museum

Last year, the Prime Minister set out his 10 point plan for a green industrial revolution, laying the foundations for a green economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 with the UK at the forefront of the growing global green economy.

This strategy builds on that approach to keep us on track for UK carbon budgets, our 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution, and net zero by 2050. It includes:

  • our decarbonisation pathways to net zero by 2050, including illustrative scenarios
  • policies and proposals to reduce emissions for each sector
  • cross-cutting action to support the transition

The government response to the 2021 Committee on Climate Change (CCC) progress report to Parliament in reducing UK emissions is published alongside this strategy. It will set out our progress over the last 12 months and addresses the latest CCC recommendations.

The Net Zero Strategy will be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the UK’s second Long-Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy under the Paris Agreement.

You can read the policy document here.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “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.”

AA welcomes Government boost to EV charging: As part of the Government’s Net Zero Strategy the AA was welcomed the commitment to an additional £620m to support the transition to electric vehicles.

The funding will support the rollout of charging infrastructure, with a particular focus on local on street residential charging, and targeted plug-in vehicle grants.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “The AA supports the moves towards Net Zero and believes that EV incentives can help us along that road.

“This new charge point funding targeted more at the 8 million households without dedicated off-street parking is a welcome step which will give power to electric drivers.

“With the cost of petrol and diesel rising, the desire to switch to electric is stronger than ever before. Should the Chancellor go a step further next week and scrap VAT on targeted new EV sales, he would deliver a truly electrifying Budget that could ‘Get Electric Done’.

“However, the introduction of a ‘Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate’ is probably unnecessary. Manufacturers are already taking big steps in order to meet the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars and vans, but bringing in this ‘Red Tape’ exercise could harm car production plans already in place.”

Vauxhall Vivarro-e vanPaul Willcox, Managing Director, Vauxhall, commented: “Vauxhall welcomes the UK government’s announcement to implement a zero emission vehicle 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 complimentary 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. Ahead of then, by 2024, Vauxhall will offer electrified versions (i.e. Plug-in Hybrid or Battery Electric) of every car and van model in its range.

Ian Plummer, Commercial Director, Auto Trader, said:

“The £620m investment in grants for electric vehicles and street charging points is welcome, but Ministers should consider how that investment is targeted.  Our data shows that interest in electric vehicles is coming almost exclusively from wealthier postcodes. The comparatively high up-front cost of EVs is proving to be a massive barrier for people on average or below average incomes. The Government and industry simply has to grasp this nettle if it is to supercharge mass adoption. That might mean introducing some kind of means testing. Incentives are needed to bridge the gap between traditionally fuelled cars and EVs for those who simply cannot afford the “green premium”. The recent petrol crisis had a big impact on interest in electric vehicles; we saw a huge spike in views on our marketplace and it’s persisting.  People are very receptive, but at the moment price is a problem and non-targeted incentives may not make much of  a dent in that. The irony is that many EVs are actually cheaper to own than their petrol equivalents, but it can take three years or more before that benefit becomes apparent. At Auto Trader we’re developing a feature that will help people understand the total cost of vehicle ownership.

“The importance of addressing affordability becomes all the more apparent when you consider the bigger picture, especially the used car market which is incredibly hot. Each month we take a basket of prices on the Auto Trader marketplace and a number of other sources including retailers’ and manufacturers’ websites, to calculate the average price of a used car. The latest data shows the average is £19,018, up almost 24 per cent year on year. In fact the average increased 0.6 per cent in just the last week.”

Arturs Smilkstins, Partner at Boston Consulting Group said: “We predict that by 2026, electric vehicles will account for more than half of light vehicles sold globally, which is why investment in public charging infrastructure is critical to ensuring that EV adoption remains high. 100 million additional charge points will be required globally in the next decade to keep pace with projected EV growth. If these ambitions aren’t met, the EV market could be brought to a standstill.”

Felicity Latcham, Associate Partner at OC&C, who authored a report on UK consumer attitudes towards electric vehicles, said: “This change in demand for EVs is being driven by consumers’ improved perception of range and infrastructure. We’ve also observed heightened concerns about the environment and individuals more focused on their own carbon footprint and sustainability – this is a key contributor to the huge increase in those considering EVs compared to 2019.”

“For the UK to make real progress here and catch up with China in terms of EV adoption, we need EVs to have a similar price to the cars we currently own. Only then will we see mass EV adoption that everyone wants.”

Tech Nation CEO, Gerard Grech, commented: “Climate tech is critical to achieving Net Zero and EV technologies are increasingly offering the solutions needed to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from one of the most carbon-intensive sector such as road transport. We’re seeing significant growth in electric vehicles technologies, which the UK is a leading global innovator in, along with other net-zero technologies. There are 519 net zero startups and scaleups in the UK, nearly double the number in France (270) and 63% more than in Germany (318). These companies are scaling rapidly; in the first half of 2021 alone, UK tech companies tackling UN SDGs have raised $1.2bn.

“Electric Assisted Vehicles, Paua Tech and The Tyre Collective are just three amazing company examples from our latest Net Zero 2.0 growth programme, dealing with EV technology solutions in helping us to reach Net-Zero. We need to support entrepreneurs and innovators who are pioneering new ways of creating greener and safer transport.”

Iryna Kocharova Head of Sustainability at Lex Autolease, said: “We are pleased to hear that the Government has announced further plans to support the ambition outlined in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan. We welcome the commitment to investment in infrastructure and supply chain and would be supportive of a well-executed EV sales mandate that is carefully designed to sit alongside CO2 targets creating an overall scheme which is reasonable and proportionate.”

Gill Nowell, Head of Electric Vehicles at LV= General Insurance, commented: “Today’s announcement is a move in the right direction but ultimately the devil will be in the detail. There needs to be an instrumental shift to increase the supply and availability of battery electric vehicles, so they are appealing for people across the UK, whatever their circumstances or income bracket.

“Getting more electric cars on the roads now will also boost the second hand market for years to come, which is essential in making the market more affordable for more people. In parallel, support for charging infrastructure is vital, but this must be underpinned by a strategic approach to help local authorities and communities deploy the right type of chargers where they are most needed.”

Commenting on the announcement, Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said: “A combination of financial support measures such as the plug-in electric vehicle grant and a reliable, easy-to-access charging infrastructure is vital to ensure that the majority of motorists embrace the transition to zero emissions. Although it is unclear how the funds announced today will be allocated, these investments represent a positive step.

“It is imperative that the Government continues to support vehicle retailers and consumers to accomplish the ambitious goal of ending the sale of internal combustion vehicles by 2030/2035 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

“To help achieve these targets, NFDA has been working closely with its franchised dealer members to facilitate the transition to zero emissions through our Government backed Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) accreditation scheme which recognises retailers’ expertise in the sector and supports consumer confidence.

“We will continue to liaise with relevant stakeholders and industry partners, and we look forward to seeing further details about the Government’s plans”.

Ben Fletcher, Associate Director of EV, Moixa: “Bold action is needed by the government if the UK is to achieve net zero by 2050. With the government’s £1 billion commitment to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains, EV infrastructure needs to incorporate intelligent charging to ensure greater access to cheaper, cleaner energy.

“The electric revolution is approaching with speed – the National Grid predicts that there will be more than 11 million EVs on UK roads by 2030, and as many as 40 million by 2040. Smart EV infrastructure will help prepare the grid for this, as well as allowing customers to get the maximum benefit from their vehicles.

“The challenge is ensuring consumers are given the right tools to put them in control, and allow them to intelligently charge in an easy, flexible way that is convenient for them. Intelligent EV charging not only allows individuals greater control over the power in their vehicle but also enables greater access to cheaper, greener energy. In turn, this ensures that drivers can decide when they want their vehicle to be ready by and the system then optimises when the vehicle charges to reduce cost and CO2.

“At Moixa we develop our Smart Battery hardware and GridShare software to facilitate smart energy storage and sharing. We facilitate and interpret interactions between energy storage devices and the grid, enabling data driven optimisation. This means we can alleviate the demand on the grid and pave the way for smart EV charging, as well as help companies manage energy storage using advanced analytical data.”

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