The BVRLA has welcomed the Government’s decision in taking a phased approach to ending the sale of petrol and diesel car and vans but warns that setting dates is only the start of the process.
The association’s members own and operate over five million cars, vans and trucks and are responsible for around half of all new vehicle registrations. All of them are committed to decarbonising, but some face a much harder challenge than others. Many fleet operators are unable to source appropriate electric vehicles for their needs while others have a business model that struggles to absorb the additional cost and charging constraints of running EVs.
BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said, “2030 is an extremely aggressive phase-out target, but one that will be embraced by many drivers and fleet operators.
“The 2035 extension for plug-in and full hybrids provides an essential lifeline for those facing a greater zero-emission challenge. Vehicle rental companies and van fleet operators will be very relieved to have this additional breathing space but will need clarity on exactly what types of hybrid are in scope.
“Setting these phase-out dates is just the start of the journey, now the Government needs to create the supportive environment that will enable fleets and motorists to step up to the challenge of decarbonising road transport. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be cheap.”
The BVRLA believes that there are three support areas that the Government must focus on:
First, the Government needs to maintain a set of powerful tax incentives and grants that will drive demand across all segments of the UK fleet and retail automotive market. Research produced for the BVRLA by Cambridge Econometrics estimates that this stimulus package could cost up to £95bn.
Secondly, electric vehicles are in high demand across the globe. The Government must ensure that the UK remains an attractive market for OEMs to sell their products.
Finally, the UK needs a comprehensive strategy on charging infrastructure. This must include an adequate supply of affordable, accessible and reliable public charge points and incentives to unlock private sector investment. EV infrastructure rollout should not be held back by arguments about who pays for upgrading the local electricity network and how this work is prioritised. The Government has announced £1.3bn in funding to accelerate the roll-out of charge points across the UK, but recent research produced for the SMMT suggests that £16.7bn needs to be spent on public charging infrastructure alone.