Road to Zero: further responses to the Governments ‘green plan’

Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 08:03
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Response to the UK Government’s plan to bring forward the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2035 to 2030, has generally been positive and well received. However, many industry commentators have said that this latest amendment to the Road to Zero will be exceptionally challenging, and will require a very active partnership between the Government and industry.

Road to ZeroAbhishek Sampat | Principal Analyst – EVs & Electricity | Delta-EE: “It’s great to see a strong, clear commitment from Government today. The £1.3bn pledged to support charging infrastructure will be a welcome step towards reducing range and charge anxiety, alongside the £582m in grants for the purchase of plug in vehicles. This, however, is not as bold as some of our European counterparts. Today’s announcement should increase competition and accelerate the roll out. Fast movers in the EV charging space, with customer-centric propositions, will give themselves a competitive edge to maximise the use of these funds. Today, the battery is one of the most expensive parts of a car, if we can bring that down we remove the cost barrier. The Government support for battery technology will go a long way in changing the economics of EVs.”

Connor McCormack, President of Millbrook, said: “Government’s announcement today reflects the pace of development and innovation within the automotive sector. We’re proud to support the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers in developing their current and future powertrain technologies by offering our state-of-the-art electrified powertrain, battery, engine and emissions testing facilities and expertise.”

William Tebbit is CEO of Green Biofuels, a transition fuel that is used by businesses which rely on diesel – for example, the construction industry and fleet operators. GBF is the UK’s leading provider of Green D+, an alternative paraffinic fuel which has been cutting business’s GHG emissions for several years. This is what he had to say about today’s announcement:

“As a transition technology, we’re elated government have taken direct and measured steps towards environmental change. We all want to reach the stage where there are no diesel or petrol cars on the roads.

“In the interim, there is no silver bullet to the problem. We’ve still got 10 years left of environmental damage, pollution, and poor air quality in built up areas which urgently needs addressing.

“A ‘green industrial revolution’ has already been happening in the background to this announcement. Green Biofuels has seen an exponential growth in demand for our fuel, as construction companies such as Volkerfitzpatrick, fleet operators and hire providers such as CEVA and Speedy Hire, as well as commercial brands like Hovis, have taken direct action to drastically cut down their emissions while they wait for new, accessible technologies.

“The government’s deadline for polluting vehicles might be 10 years away but it won’t be the end of diesel.  Using alternative fuels in 10 years and beyond will be just as important.”

Sanjay Neogi – Head of Uk and Europe, Enzen Group: “This is a great ambition from the Government, however, what we can’t afford are delays. The plan requires the roll-out of huge infrastructure projects, so we need a roadmap to orchestrate all stakeholders into action. Bringing forward decarbonisation deadlines like fossil fuel car bans is welcome, but an acceleration in infrastructure deployment must accompany the shorter timeframe.”

Jon Lawes, MD of Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions: “Momentum towards electric vehicles has been gathering pace in recent months as drivers benefit from the increasing number of options available on the market, combined with attractive incentives.

“However, building demand for EVs to meet the revised 2030 target must go hand in hand with delivering the infrastructure needed to make rapid charging a reality. Our partnership with GRIDSERVE to build the UK’s first rapid charging Electric Forecourts marks a real step change in addressing this challenge and will help to fast-track electric vehicle adoption across the UK over the next decade.

“Accelerated by a fundamental shift in attitudes towards climate change, our own research shows that over quarter of consumers are now considering purchasing an EV, so demand is definitely there to drive a green industrial revolution.”

Jamie Hamilton, head of electric vehicles at Deloitte, said: “Today’s show of commitment to electric vehicles should help convince consumers that it is worth investing in the technology ahead of the 2030 deadline. With more than half of consumers already considering an EV, today’s announcement is likely to prompt an acceleration of sales. The sector is already on a sharp upward trajectory, with EV sales poised to overtake diesel imminently. As an increasingly viable option for consumers, any additional boost to the EV sector could see the sales of electric vehicles challenge petrol alternatives. However, this will only happen if consumers are convinced that the necessary charging infrastructure is in place.

“The news also has big implications for fleet operators, potentially upping the pace of change in this market. Despite the ban being a decade away, many companies will already be thinking carefully about the implications to their fleet. There are already major financial and environmental benefits associated with transitioning to electric, but any wholesale change requires careful planning around infrastructure and operating models.

“With the timeline now set, the race is on for the UK’s charging infrastructure to keep up, with capacity likely to be tested at peak times. Continued coordination with charging infrastructure planning is essential for the sustained growth of EV adoption. Consumers will need to see a joined up approach that considers how many chargers are needed, what kind of chargers are needed and what the underlying power networks look like.”

John Richardson, Sales Director at Fleetcover, said “The news to ensure more electric vehicles are on our roads by 2030 is a welcomed thought for many to lower carbon emissions, however the government must consider the details of this for both businesses and drivers to ensure it is affordable now and in the future. Of course it hasn’t just been about the benefits to the environment for many people so far, with incentives such as free vehicle tax, and no benefit in kind tax to encourage the transition to electric vehicles. However, longer-term these aren’t sustainable and the latest debates around what the new car tax could look like with potential ‘pay-by-the-mile’ schemes being considered is a worrying thought for many.

This uncertainty can cause further confusion and fear for many to invest in new technology, and quite frankly could have a detrimental effect on the transport industry who as many other sectors and businesses, are already struggling. These plans have never been more important. Other costs of running a vehicle also includes insurance, and whilst electric car insurance is commonly more expensive at the moment, insurance brokers like us are working hard to gather the data and information we need to accurately access premium levels and create effective policies that work for consumers with both quality and price.”

Kevin Brundish, CEO at AMTE Power comments: “This is obviously fantastic news and accelerates the electrification of cars, which is a significant step in meeting the country’s climate change targets. For businesses like ours, which are targeting the development and supply of innovative battery cell products, this continued government support, which goes alongside financial support packages such as the Faraday Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and the Automotive Transformation Fund, will help to create the right investment environment for us to grow here in the UK. This accelerated transition to electrification will require an onshore supply chain for the electric vehicle’s most crucial component, the lithium ion battery, the creation and growth of which will also stimulate the wider economy and create much needed jobs. AMTE Power’s own manufacturing expansion plans are very much aligned with this onshore supply chain need.”

Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles said: “Today’s announcement is a landmark moment for the UK, setting a clear, ambitious and achievable date which will fast-track the electric vehicle revolution and clean up the air of our cities.

“Tesla has transformed the market with brilliant electric cars. As others race to catch up, it’s an important signal to the market that the UK will no longer welcome dirty diesels and petrol cars from 2030 – in turn, creating thousands of green jobs while saving motorists billions of pounds, and showing the UK’s leadership position in our low carbon future.

“Drivers don’t have to wait until 2030 to go electric – the cars, the charge points, and the affordable prices are here today. By switching now, drivers can save thousands in fuel, tax and maintenance costs, and make the most of generous government incentives that won’t be around forever, not to mention feel good about their impact on the planet. Many drivers are already realising this – leading to a surge in electric vehicle sales – up 169% in 2020 despite COVID. With some customers having to wait more than 6 months for their electric cars due to a current shortage, this ban date will let manufacturers know that they need to keep up if they want to sell into the biggest car market in Europe.”

Ian Johnston, CEO of Osprey Charging said: “Today’s announcement is a truly watershed moment in the UK’s transition to cleaner transport. It sends a clear message to industry and the general public and that we must act now to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.”

“The spotlight is now on industry and government to ensure that the necessary charging infrastructure is in place to make the switch to electric as frictionless as possible for motorists. The private sector is deploying a vast network of reliable and accessible public charging points and the government must also step up action to fund infrastructure in rural areas and create an attractive trading environment for EV supply. When broadband was rolled out, we saw huge delays in rural areas, the effects of which are still felt today – we must not let that happen again.”

Ashley Barnett, Head of Consultancy at Lex Autolease, said: “This is a seismic step towards delivering on government’s Road to Zero policy and one we are fully in support of. However, it simply won’t happen overnight. Petrol and diesel-powered cars accounted for 73 per cent of new car sales this year so far.

“2030 will come around particularly quickly for businesses with large fleets of traditionally-fuelled cars and vans. With the new target, they’ll have just over two replacement cycles to make the shift. Although more businesses are exploring switching to electric vehicles already, today’s announcement makes this transition much more pressing and firms will need to start to act now.

“An acceleration of the UK’s EV infrastructure rollout, incentivising new and used purchases, plus investing in renewable electricity sources and making the UK attractive to BEV suppliers in a global market must be at the top of the agenda if we are ever going to hit this ambitious deadline. We’ve heard plenty of pro-EV rhetoric. Now it’s time for government departments and industry bodies to come together to help the UK transition to a net-zero future.”


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