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29 April 2024

EV News Round-Up: UK Government Answers Lords’ EV Report, and the North-South Charging Divide

Car Manufacturers' Disappointment over Government Response to Lords EV Report 

A House of Lords committee report ‘EV strategy: rapid recharge needed‘ warned in February this year that a combination of higher purchase costs, insufficient charging infrastructure and mixed messaging risks people not adopting EV cars.                   

Last week the UK Gov responded and reiterated it is "committed to keeping the transition to electric vehicles affordable". 

Despite agreeing with many of the recommendations within the report, however, proposals for VAT cuts on public chargers and EV grants have been ruled out. 

This lack of action or commitment to financial incentives has raised concerns about the potential impact on mass EV adoption. The decision comes amidst a backdrop of conflicting viewpoints between the automotive industry and the Government on policy vs. market incentives to address the urgency of transitioning to EVs.

Car manufacturers have since spoken out with disappointment at the lack of incentives, with 2024 the first year under the ZEV Mandate which will see them fined if unable to hit targets for new sales of zero-emission vehicles. 

Bosses of two major car brands have issued a warning cautioning that the UK is on the brink of an EV crisis and accusing the government of "sleepwalking" into the situation as it fails to reintroduce grants to help more drivers make the switch.

Fiat's MD, Damian Dally emphasises the need for clear policies and incentives to drive EV adoption and avoid potential supply chain disruptions. He stated in his response: “With confirmation that no electric car grant is going to be reintroduced, we would say the Government is now well and truly on the cusp of that crisis.

Half a million electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles were registered during 2023, which is fantastic news. But, the EV market for private buyers is in real jeopardy, accounting for fewer than one in five (18.2 per cent) new electric cars registered in 2024.”

Jeremy Thomson, managing director at Mazda UK, said it was  "disappointing" to not see any incentives for private buyers of electric vehicles in the recent Budget. He added: “We need to change the narrative around EVs, from range to usage and encourage home charging installation, better public charging infrastructure as well as government incentives that consider cost throughout the ownership cycle.”

“As manufacturers, we have to build and sell electric cars that people want to buy at a price that gives them confidence to adopt EV technology."

All in all, the reaction will be received by many in the industry as a disappointment. The debate over the best way to help stimulate an uptake in sales following the recent plateau will likely continue to grow as pressure to hit sales mandates increases.

Disparity in Public EV Infrastructure Reveals North-South Divide

A recent analysis of public EV infrastructure in the UK as reported by Transport + Energy has shed light on a North-South divide, with disparities in accessibility and availability of charging points between regions. The findings demonstrate the need for equitable investment in EV infrastructure to ensure widespread adoption and address regional differences.

According to the analysis, 70% of local authority respondents across Northern regions such as Yorkshire and the North East described sufficient funding as ‘a significant barrier’ to creating formal EV infrastructure plans compared with 45% in the South of England. 

The data shows the disproportionate Southern bias in terms of the density and accessibility of public EV charging, with London  (34% of the total) and the South East (12%) having the highest proportion of charge points per vehicle, while the North East (3%) and the North West (7%) are significantly behind. 

The disparity highlights the importance of targeted investment and policy interventions to address regional inequalities and promote equitable access to charging infrastructure nationwide. As the UK continues its journey towards a greener automotive future, bridging the gap in public EV infrastructure between North and South will be crucial in realising the full potential of EVs, building a more sustainable transportation network, and avoiding hindering EV adoption in these areas.

First Bus Depot in Cornwall Pioneers EV Charging Hub in the UK

First Bus depot in Summercourt, Cornwall, has become the first in the UK to offer a consumer EV charging hub. 

The newly unveiled EV charging hub and first of its kind at the bus depot provides a convenient and accessible charging solution for both bus fleet vehicles and members of the public. 

The company says the hub, strategically located along the A30 corridor, a key tourist route, will ease EV range anxiety for drivers. Equipped with multiple charging points, the hub aims to encourage the use of EVs through convenience. With eight rapid chargers, extended opening hours and an easy “turn up and charge” basis all aimed at contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions in Cornwall and beyond.

The ambitious 12-month project was fuelled with a £1 million investment. By embracing electric mobility and investing in charging infrastructure, the launch of the EV charging hub shows First Bus's commitment to sustainability and innovation in public transportation. 

Simon Goff, First Bus South’s Managing Director, said: “Opening the Summercourt hub is a hugely exciting step forward in our decarbonisation journey. For local people, visitors and business, the new hub ensures EV drivers can charge their vehicles on a reliable connection at a fair price.”

Malcolm Bell, Executive Chairman of Visit Cornwall, said: “Visit Cornwall really welcomes this investment as we know that many people with EV are desperate to see an improvement in the charging infrastructure in Cornwall. Its proximity close to the A30 is excellent for not only local people but visitors making longer journeys.”

MG's Electric Sports Car Makes Debut in the UK

MG's highly anticipated electric sports car has arrived in the UK, marking a significant milestone in the country's EV landscape. The sleek and stylish MG electric sports car promises to combine performance and zero-emission driving, offering a compelling option for EV enthusiasts and sports car aficionados alike.

With a striking design and impressive specifications, including a range of up to 257 miles on a single charge and acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds, the MG electric sports car represents a bold leap forward in electric mobility. Priced from £54,995 the Cyberster GT is the most powerful production model in MG’s 100-year history and aims to make electric driving an exhilarating experience.

As the automotive industry continues to embrace electric technology, the arrival of MG's electric sports car reinforces the growing popularity and viability of EVs in the UK market, setting the stage for a future of electrifying performance and sustainability on the road.

 

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