Business groups urge government to accelerate transition to zero emission vehicles

The CBI and the Aldersgate Group have both urged the government to go further to create the demand and infrastructure to support a zero emission road network.

Commenting on the same day Theresa May announced £106m for R&D in green vehicles, new batteries and low carbon technology at the UK’s Zero Emission Vehicle Summit, Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI Director-General, said: “The transition to zero-emissions is not just about ensuring we build the vehicles – that’s only half the story. The other half is about ensuring demand, through making vehicles affordable and investing in charge-points across our road networks.”

Meanwhile, the Aldersgate Group launched a new briefing, Driving ambition: accelerating the transition to zero emission vehicles, with five key recommendations for rapidly cutting road transport emissions in the UK.

The group urged the government to:

  1. Drive consumer uptake of the cleanest vehicles by extending the plug-in car and van grants until such a time that electric vehicles reach cost parity with conventional cars, which is not expected to happen until the mid-2020s, while also considering fiscal incentives, such as significant VAT cuts on the sale of zero emission vehicles.
  2. Provide much greater clarity on how vehicle emissions are to reduce in the 2020s after the UK leaves the EU, such as whether the UK will remain part of the current EU rules on car, van and HGV emission targets.
  3. Deliver an affordable, efficient and reliable charging infrastructure by accelerating roll out of charging infrastructure to support 100% electric new car and van sales by 2030, including public funding to support charging infrastructure in rural areas and reducing costs of connecting chargers to the grid.
  4. Plan now for the future by looking at how the overall efficiency of the transport system can be improved, including developing a sustainable future road tax system.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “If we are to fully decarbonise transport by 2050, technological changes are only part of the picture. The government also needs to plan ahead and consider the shifts in travel patterns and infrastructure needs that are required to improve the overall efficiency of the transport system, from passenger travel to freight transport.”

Launching the £106m fund, prime minister Theresa May said: ”Today we have provided over £100 million of funding for innovators in ultra-low emission vehicles and hydrogen technology. With a further £500 million of investment from key industries in this sector.”

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