Public charging investment and EV tax exemption among SMMT policy requests
29 June 2021
Author: Sean Keywood
The UK Government should commit to at least 2.3 million public EV chargers being in place by 2030, and exempt ultra-low emission vehicles from tax for the next five years, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The body has included these recommendations among 12 policy proposals in a new strategy entitled 'Full throttle: Driving UK automotive competitiveness'.
Commissioned by the SMMT and written by Public First, the strategy outlines how the public charging investment is needed in particular to encourage EV adoption in less affluent areas, while the proposed tax exemption could help bridge the gap in price between ultra-low emission vehicles and ICE cars, ahead of them achieving parity on their own.
The proposals on EV chargers and tax are part of a section on consumer, market and trade policies, which also calls for current plug-in vehicle incentives to be extended beyond their current term - including those aimed at fleets - and for an independent review to holistically consider the long-term future of fuel duty and CO2-based taxes like vehicle excise duty in a decarbonised sector.
The strategy also includes policies on technology and innovation, and manufacturing, saying there should be measures including a commitment to 60GWh of battery production in the UK by 2030, and a new fund to support manufacturing jobs and help lower manufacturing costs.
The SMMT argues that a best-case scenario could see 40,000 jobs created by 2030, while a worst-case scenario could see 90,000 lost.
Discussing the strategy at the SMMT's International Automotive Summit, chief executive Mike Hawes said: "The next few years represent a critical period for the sector. The pace of technological change is accelerating and the competition more ferocious. If we are to secure vehicle manufacturing in this country, with all the benefits to society that it brings, decisions need to be made today.
"The automotive sector is uniquely placed to help this government deliver on its agenda; to level up, deliver net zero and trade globally. The government has made clear its support for the sector in its negotiations with Europe, so now is the time to go full throttle and take bold action to support one of Britain's most important industries.
"This is not a mere wish-list, it is not a cap-in-hand plea. It's a concrete plan, a vital plan for investment, growth and prosperity."