A committee of MPs has called for the phase out of sales of new diesel and petrol cars and vans to be brought forward to 2032.
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said the government’s 2040 targets for zero emission cars are vague and unambitious.
In its latest report, Electric Vehicles: Driving the Transition, it recommends the Government should bring forward a clear, precise target for new sales of cars and vans to be zero emission by 2032.
The report finds that the poor provision of charging points for electric vehicles (EVs) is one of the greatest barriers to growing the UK EV market. The Committee calls on the Government to take the lead in ensuring charging points are provided nationwide and help local authorities access greater technical and financial support to develop charging infrastructure across the country, including in remote and rural areas.
Rachel Reeves, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said: “Electric vehicles are increasingly popular, and present exciting opportunities for the UK to develop an internationally competitive EV industry and reduce our carbon emissions.
“But, for all the rhetoric of the UK becoming a world leader in EVs, the reality is that the Government’s deeds do not match the ambitions of their words.
“The IPCC report was clear on the need to encourage changes in consumer behaviour, including increasing the switch to electric vehicles, to help decarbonise our economy.
“But the UK Government’s targets on zero-emissions vehicles are unambitious and vague, giving little clarity or incentive to industry or the consumer to invest in electric cars. If we are serious about being EV world leaders, the Government must come forward with a target of new sales of cars and vans to be zero emission by 2032.
“Our EV charging infrastructure is simply not fit for purpose. We cannot expect consumers to overcome ‘range anxiety’ and switch to electric vehicles if they cannot be confident of finding convenient, reliable points to regularly charge their cars. The Government cannot simply will the ends and leave local government, or private companies, to deliver the means. The Government needs to get a grip and lead on coordinating the financial support and technical know-how necessary for local authorities to promote this infrastructure and help ensure that electric cars are an attractive option for consumers.”
The report also calls for greater tax incentives for low emission vehicles and said the Government should maintain Plug-in Grants for new electric vehicles at current levels, rather than cutting them from November, as announced by the Department for Transport on 11 October.
Reeves said: “The Department for Transport’s slashing of the Plug-in Grant scheme drives the incentives of buying an electric vehicle into reverse. Cutting support is a perverse way to encourage drivers to move to non-polluting cars. This is only the latest sign of the Government’s inconsistent approach to developing the market for electric vehicles.
“The Committee on Climate Change has made clear in their judgements on the Clean Growth Strategy and the ‘Road to Zero’ strategy that these plans do not go far enough to tackle transport emissions, putting the UK’s long-term carbon reduction targets at risk. A more joined-up and consistent approach is needed from Government if the UK is to seize the business opportunities of electric vehicles and deliver carbon emissions reductions.”