‘Road to zero’ electric vehicle strategy: the industry responds

The government’s “Road to zero”, says that by 2030 at least half of new cars and 40% of new vans sold in the UK must be ultra low emission — defined as emitting less than 50g of carbon per kilometre travelled. Campaigners complained that the policy did not outlaw non-electric vehicles but Chargepoint’s Tom Callow noted that it required vehicles to have “significant zero-emission” range. “There’s no ‘ban’ on traditional hybrids, but as you can’t get a significant zero-emission range from them, effect is the same,” he tweeted.
The policy also calls for electric charging points in new housing developments.
Graeme Cooper, project director for electric vehicles, National Grid:  “Today’s announcement is a positive step forward in helping to facilitate the growth of EVs through local initiatives, but a structured and co-ordinated roll out of EV infrastructure across the country is required to tackle range anxiety. We look forward to working with government and Highways England to pilot our solution so that as the EV market grows, the infrastructure is in place to support it.  It’s about doing it once and doing it right.”
James Court, head of policy & external affairs, Renewable Energy Association: “The Road to Zero strategy is a very encouraging starting point which will address some of the most immediate challenges for electric vehicles. Charging infrastructure is consistently stated as one of the biggest hurdles for consumers, and this strategy promises very welcome funding and new regulations for home, work and motorway charging.

 “Electric Vehicles and charging infrastructure are key to the future decentralised energy system that will lead to a smarter, cleaner and cheaper market, but we need to make sure we are having a no regrets revolution, and that starts with ensuring we are putting in smart chargers that will give homeowners and the grid flexibility.

“The government also needs to make sure we are not overlooking easy and cost effective solutions for better air quality and climate targets available right now, with biofuels able to provide significant reductions in road transport immediately”

Nick Molho, executive director, Aldersgate Group: “Given the UK’s strengths in manufacturing ultra-low emissions vehicles and world leading battery research, it is essential that the government provides strong regulatory and policy support to accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles and ensure that UK businesses are amongst the best placed to capitalise on this emerging market. This requires building on the charging infrastructure measures announced today by bringing forward the phase out date for the sale of conventional petrol and diesel vehicles, providing support for the purchase of ultra-low emission vans beyond October 2018 and cars beyond 2020, and delivering on its commitment to simplify the regime for drivers to access local charging points.”

Amy Stray, energy specialist, Osborne Clarke  lawyers: “Uptake of EVs – and their charging requirements – has consequences for the electricity grid. Existing electricity networks are already under pressure, and while infrastructure will undoubtedly need to be upgraded, consumers also need play their part alongside the digital revolution in supporting the Road to Zero.

“On current charging trends, existing infrastructure is unlikely to be able to support the EV surge in the right timescales at the right cost. Smart charging behaviour – with EVs being charged during the night and smart grid management systems returning power to the grid when the EV is not in use – could help balance supply and demand.”

Dagoberto Cedillos, strategy and innovation lead, Open Energi: “Decarbonising transport is vital if the UK is to meet its carbon commitments and make urgent improvements to air quality. Prioritising charging infrastructure and the impact of electric vehicles (EVs) on the electricity system is vital to create the foundations of a successful EV strategy and align sustainable energy and transport needs for the future.

“Government seems to have recognised this, and has made welcome commitments to continue grants for chargers, expand on-street charging access, help fund charging infrastructure, address barriers to grid connections and consult on requirements for charge points in new dwellings and workplaces. Wisely government will not own or operate a chargepoint network, which is clearly unnecessary given the level of private sector interest and innovation already underway in this space.”

Erik Fairbairn, chief executive and founder, Pod Point“In headline, the strategy shows some sensible proposals to increase the amount of EV charging infrastructure across the UK, with a good understanding of the need to rollout charging across homes, workplace, and public locations.

“The rollout of EV charging has been accelerating rapidly over the past couple of years, mainly through heavy investment from private companies such as Pod Point who are dedicated to building national infrastructure. It is good to see this additional support from the government, which will allow for further acceleration.

“The strategy however is disappointing in that there is no movement on the government’s 2040 ban of internal combustion vehicles. At Pod Point we see a clear path which would allow internal combustion vehicles to be banned in 2030, some ten years earlier.”

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