UK electric vehicle development: rising investment, concerns over Brexit

uk electric vehicle development
© iStock/sl-f

As the UK government announces a range of schemes investing in UK electric vehicle development, concern has grown over the post-Brexit future of the industry.

Last week the government launched a consultation on proposals to compel all newly built houses in the UK to be fitted with a chargepoint for electric vehicles, a legislative world first aimed at supporting UK electric vehicle development and uptake of electric mobility. The proposal follows the implementation of a government scheme offering homeowners a £500 (€555.71) grant to cover the cost of installing a chargepoint at their home.

Separately, the government has announced the deployment of £80m (€88.91m) through its Industrial Strategy to support UK electric vehicle development and innovation. In addition to supporting new research and development in on-road electric vehicles, the funding will go towards exploring potential development of a hybrid-powered aircraft. Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Building on our Faraday Battery Challenge and Battery Industrialisation Centre this co-investment from Government and industry is a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy, building on our strengths and helping to create the next generation of net zero technologies that will transform entire industries. The UK leads the world on combatting climate change and is the first major economy to legislate for net zero.”

The UK’s e-mobility industry is growing exponentially, with projected growth of more than 200% in the next three years. However, analysis by sustainable transport body Transport & Environment published this week highlights concerns over whether the growth of UK electric vehicle development can be maintained once the UK has left the EU. Greg Archer, Transport Environment’s UK Director, said: “Thanks to new EU rules, a wave of new, longer range, and more affordable electric cars will be on sale across Europe. But if the UK leaves the EU with no deal it will no longer be part of these rules and the cars sold in the UK won’t count towards meeting the carmakers’ targets. As a result, cars simply won’t be made available in large numbers in the UK, slowing progress in the shift to zero emissions cars here.”

Archer continued: “Carmakers are investing £130bn [€144.48bn] in electrification across the EU but the UK is getting a smaller share than would be anticipated and missing out on the new jobs this will create. It is imperative the UK doesn’t fall behind other EU countries in either sales or production of electric cars and a no-deal Brexit makes this likely. Across Europe the age of the combustion engine is coming to an end – whether this includes the UK remains to be seen.”

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