The automotive industry has given a mixed reaction to the Government’s recently launched Road to Zero Strategy – which it says aims to “lead the world in zero emission vehicle technology”. The strategy outlines the ambition to see between 50%-70% of new cars and up to 40% of new vans to be ultra-low emission by 2030, ahead of the 2040 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles.

Visit the gov.uk website for further information on the Road to Zero Strategy.

The strategy also outlines plans for further investment in electric vehicle infrastructure, including a push for charge points to be installed in newly built homes and new lampposts, as well as up to £500 to help electric vehicle owners install a charge point in their homes. Money has also been allocated to accelerate the roll-out of charging infrastructure on the UK road network and at workplaces, as well as grants for new plug-in car and van purchases and a research programme to develop and trial innovate, low cost wireless and on street-charging technology.

Learn more in our recent blog: Is the UK infrastructure ready for a surge in electric vehicles?

Road to zero responsibility on industry and consumers

“Government expects the transition to be led by industry and consumers and a review of the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles will take place in 2025 to consider what interventions are required if not enough progress is being made,” it was stated in the strategy announcement. Representative bodies within the automotive industry welcomed the Government’s goals but expressed reservations about the likelihood of achieving them.

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: “We are concerned about targets for ULEV penetration that go far beyond the high levels of expectation proposed by the European Commission. Achieving 50% market share would require a nearly 23-fold increase in uptake from the current position of just 2.2%..”

Visit the SMMT website to read their full statement.

Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said: “NFDA welcomes the Government’s continued commitment to support the uptake of electric vehicles while it acknowledges that conventional engines will continue to play an important part in the years to come. Positively, the Government stated that ‘cleaner diesel cars and vans can play an important part in reducing CO2 emissions’ during the transition to zero emissions.”

Visit the NFDA website to read their full statement.

Is the Road to Zero Strategy going far enough?

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), an independent, statutory body established to advise the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on emissions targets and report to Parliament on progress, has criticised the Road to Zero Strategy, however.

Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said: “Overall, Road to Zero falls short of our expectations. The Committee had hoped for a ground-breaking Strategy to tackle emissions from transport – now the most polluting sector of the UK economy. Road to Zero has not risen to the task.”

Learn more about the CCC reaction to the Road to Zero Strategy.