The EV industry can be incredibly beneficial to the UK economy. Highlighting this can help generate common ground between constituents and MPs with an economic focus.
A UK motorist can now choose from about 60 electric vehicle models and at the end of 2017 there were approximately 132,000 electric vehicles on UK roads (Next Green Car, 2018). The UK government is aiming to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, while the Scottish government has a more ambitious target of 2032. However, The Committee on Climate Change says this must happen nearer to 2030 to meet the 3% emission reduction per year needed to meet the carbon budget.
The UK’s strong car manufacturing industry makes it a great place for manufacturers of EVs to invest, thus creating jobs and contributing to economic growth. Over 50 000 of Nissan’s Leaf, for example, have been made at its Sunderland plant. The £36 million investment to produce the Leaf in Sunderland is estimated to support 2000 jobs at the plant and in the wider UK supply chain.
Furthermore, with renewables on the rise (see next section), an increasing amount of electricity is generated locally or regionally, for example on the roof of our homes through solar panels. So, rather than sending vast amounts of money to oil exporting countries, consumers would be sending their money to national or regional utilities, regional power plant owners, community solar and wind farms, keeping the money within the country.
The Government recognises the benefits of EVs and has adopted a number of policies to help the industry:
- The Plug-in Grant, which was setup in 2011, aims to incentivise people to buy electric cars. It currently gives £4,500 towards the cost of a new all-electric car and £2,500 towards a plug-in hybrid. In the Industrial Strategy, the government has pledged £100 million to guarantee the Plug-in Grant’s future until 2020.
- £200 million will be invested in charging point infrastructure, with this being matched by £200 million of private investment.
- Building regulations will be updated to ensure that all new residential development contain the enabling cabling for charge points in the home. £40 million will be invested to support new technologies for on-street and wireless charging.
However, the UK can do more to support the electric vehicle industry:
What can I ask my MP to do to support the EV industry?
- You could talk to your MP about providing exemptions for EV owners. For example, in Norway owners of EVs are not charged for using toll roads, ferries or municipal parking and have access to bus lanes (Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, 2016). As a result, it is estimated that 30% of vehicles on Norwegian roads are EVs, compared to 4.4% in the UK
- A report by the Economic and Social Research Council (2017) emphasises the need to improve the charging point infrastructure in the UK. In particular, you could discuss with your MP what measures are being taken to provide more charging points in the local area.
Last Updated: 24/04/ 2018