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Man using his EV charger at home.
08 July 2024

EV News: Labour's EV Election Pledges, and EU Tariffs on Chinese Imports

Welcome back to our weekly EV News Round-Up, where we bring you the biggest stories and analysis from the industry to help keep you informed. This week, we’ll be focusing on the new UK’s government’s EV policies, and what their win might mean for EVs, as well as the EU’s introduction of the much-discussed Chinese EV import tariffs.

Labour Election Win: What It Means For EV

It’s official. We now have a Labour government for the first time in 14 years, with the party winning its largest majority since the New Labour landslides of ‘97 and 2001.

With Labour’s victory, many are speculating about its impact on the country, and on the EV industry in particular. We’ll take a look at some of Labour’s key EV pledges, and what impact they’re likely to have on the future of our sustainable transport sector.


Restoring the 2030 Deadline for Banning ICE Vehicle Sales

One of Labour’s standout campaign policies regarding EVs, Labour has pledged to bring the ban date back to the previous deadline - 2030.

The Conservative government had postponed this deadline to 2035 in September 2023, citing a need to ease the pressure of achieving environmental targets.

The pledge is undoubtedly a positive one for those championing the clean energy transition, with the flagship policy underlining the importance of our EV switch and placing EVs at the forefront of political debate.

With the Government pledging support for our EV switch from the outset, the introduction of the new Labour Government should be seen as a step in the right direction in bringing about a more accessible future for the majority of drivers starting to make the EV transition.

As for manufacturers, there may not be much of a change to operations, with ZEV mandates already gearing key retailers towards a ramp-up in EV production and sales.

This comes as discussions in 2024 have centred on manufacturers’ challenges and successes in meeting these targets, particularly given competition from Chinese producers and a plateau in private-sector sales.

These issues have promoted many in the industry to call for greater Government intervention to help stimulate growth, which brings us to our next point on Labour’s EV plans…


Investment in Domestic Battery Production, Gigafactories, R&D, and Skills Development

Labour’s manifesto includes significant support for the EV sector, focusing on strengthening the industry through investments in production and research & development.

Central to this plan is the commitment to establish multiple gigafactories across the UK by 2030. These facilities are essential for meeting the rising demand for electric vehicles and reducing reliance on imported batteries. Labour’s focus on gigafactories aims to secure the EV supply chain, create thousands of jobs, and reinvigorate manufacturing regions, aligning with their broader economic objectives.

New Chancellor Rachel Reeves highlighted the importance of these investments, noting they are crucial not only for green technology but also for "rebuilding Britain’s industrial heartlands." By bolstering local battery production, Labour intends to position the UK as a global leader in EV technology.

As for R & D investments, Labour plans to significantly increase funding for this in the EV sector, with a particular focus on battery technology, such as solid-state batteries and next-generation energy storage solutions.

Add to this party’s proposal substantial investments in education and training programs to upskill workers in areas like battery technology and EV maintenance, and there are plenty of positives for the industry.

Labour’s manifesto doesn’t refer to a plan to cut public charging VAT however, something opposition parties like the Lib Dems pledged to do. With organisations such as FairCharge citing high VAT rates as one of the main drivers of high on-the-road charging costs, this fact could be counterintuitive to Labour’s pledge to make access to public chargers easier for all.

Other elements of Labour’s EV plans include the introduction of battery passports to allow for greater transparency for secondhand buyers, and a pledge to reduce energy costs by aiming for net-zero carbon electricity by 2030. 

All in all, the new government will have several difficult challenges ahead of them - and instigating the best changes possible for the EV industry will be one of them. After an air of uncertainty created by a Conservative government prone to rolling back green pledges, it will be interesting to see how the industry develops under Starmer’s cabinet.

EU Hits Chinese EVs With New Tariffs

Elsewhere this week, the political impact of EV policies has been felt once again with the instigation of a new tariff against imported Chinese EVs by the EU.

The EU had threatened the measures in response to a flood of imports into the European market, which the alliance claimed to threaten the security of the European EV economy.

There are fears, however, that these steep tariffs will ultimately see consumers - regular EV drivers - caught in the crossfire, paying the price of a potential ‘trade war’ with higher prices.

The new tariffs on individual manufacturers range from 17.4% to 37.6%, which is on top of a 10% duty that was already in place for all-electric cars imported from China.

EU officials say this rise in imports was boosted by "unfair subsidisation", which allowed China-made EVs to be sold at much lower prices than ones produced in the bloc, although Chinese officials have repeatedly denied this.

The new charges were supposed to come into effect last Friday, although they’re not expected to be enforced until an investigation into potential government subsidies is completed, which could not conclude until the end of the year.

It is not just Chinese brands that are affected by the move. Western firms that make cars in China have also come under scrutiny by Brussels.

By imposing tariffs, Brussels says it is attempting to correct what it sees as a distorted market. The EU’s decision may seem tame compared to a recent US move to raise its total tariffs to 100%, but it could be far more consequential. Chinese EVs are a relatively rare sight on US roads but much more common in the EU.


That’s all from us for this week’s round-up, but if you’re looking to learn more about the EV market place and the benefits of an EV switch, make sure to head through to our resources section and check out our other round-ups, analysis pieces, and blogs.