The government’s plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans should be brought forward from 2040 to 2032, according to a cross-party group of MPs.
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has published a report entitled ‘Electric Vehicles, Driving the Transition’, calling for a “clear, precise targe”’ for new cars and vans to be zero-emission, eight years earlier than the government’s current target date.
The committee says that poor provision of electric vehicle (EV) charging points is currently the biggest barrier to their adoption, and says the government should take the lead in ensuring they are installed, and help local authorities provide them through technical and financial support.
The report also calls for financial incentives to encourage EV purchases.
Committee chair Rachel Reeves MP said: “The UK government’s targets on zero-emissions vehicles are unambitious and vague, giving little clarity or incentive to industry or the consumer to invest in electric.
“If we are serious about being EV world leaders the government must come forward with a target of new sales of cars and vans to be zero-emission by 2032.
“The Committee on Climate Change has made clear in their judgements on the Clean Growth Strategy and the Road to Zero strategy that these plans do not go far enough to tackle transport emissions, putting the UK's long-term carbon reduction targets at risk.
“A more joined-up and consistent approach is needed from government if the UK is to seize the business opportunities of electric vehicles and deliver carbon emissions reductions.”
Reacting to the report, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The government’s 2040 ambition was already extremely challenging, so to fast-track that by eight years would be nigh on impossible.
“Zero-emission vehicles make up just 0.6% of the market, meaning consumer appetite would have to grow by some 17,000% in just over a decade.
“This is unrealistic and rejects the evidence put forward by the SMMT on behalf of the industry, which is investing billions into these technologies but which recognises consumers need greater confidence and support if they are to buy these vehicles in the numbers we all want.”
But British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “If India, China and Scotland feel able to set a target of banning new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032, then the UK should be brave enough to meet that challenge as well.
“As the purchasers of more than 50% of all new vehicles sold in the UK each year, the vehicle rental and leasing industry is more than capable of delivering this transition to zero-emission transport – if the government can provide the right supportive environment.
“The government needs to do a lot more than just boost the roll-out of electric charging points. We need a comprehensive and joined-up set of national and local incentives for electric vehicle users, plus a clear roadmap for how they will be taxed.”