UK government policy on electric vehicles criticised

UK government policy on electric vehicles
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The UK’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee (BEIS) has chastised the government for its response to a 2018 report critical of UK government policy on electric vehicles.

The report, issued by BEIS in October 2018, said government-sponsored incentives for uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles – including grants for and contributions toward the purchase price of plug-in vehicles – had been withdrawn too soon and should be reinstated until the price of electric vehicles is comparable to those of traditional cars. The lack of clarity in UK government policy on electric vehicles was criticised; the report drew attention to the government’s pledge to ban internal combustion engines by 2040 and pointed out it was unclear whether this measure included hybrid cars.

The government’s response was noncommittal, diverting the responsibility for electric vehicle development onto manufacturers and consumers and vaguely promising to “review” UK government policy on electric vehicles. BEIS committee chair Rachel Reeves MP said: “The government continues to fail to match its own rhetoric in encouraging people to switch to electric vehicles. [Its] response to the BEIS Committee’s report highlights once again the lack of ambition and vagueness of the UK government’s targets on zero-emissions vehicles. If the government is serious in its commitment to ensuring the UK is a world leader in electric vehicles, then it needs to give a clear and unambiguous target to help industry and the consumer make the switch to EVs.

Ms Reeves, who contributed to the report criticising UK government policy on electric vehicles, added: “To ensure the UK seizes the opportunities to develop a globally-competitive EV industry, and takes a lead on decarbonising our transport, the government must come forward with a target of new sales of cars and vans to be truly zero emission by 2032. It’s also vitally important that the government comes forward with detailed policies and actions to help make electric vehicles an attractive option, not least by ensuring that consumers across the UK have access to convenient and reliable charging points for their EVs.”

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