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The UK’s electric vehicle strategy needs a rapid recharge says Lords Committee

6 February 2024

The Environment and Climate Change Committee has published its report 'EV strategy: rapid recharge needed'.


A successful transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is essential if the Government is to meet its legally binding net zero target by 2050. 

The Government has committed to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035 and there has been some welcome progress towards this target. The Government’s Zero Emission Vehicles mandate, requiring manufacturers to sell an increasing proportion of EVs each year, was introduced in December 2023. There has also been some progress in the rollout of the UK’s charging infrastructure and the recent publication of strategies to enhance UK innovation and manufacturing.

However, progress is not happening fast enough, and major barriers remain.

  • EVs make up about only 3 per cent of all cars currently on UK roads.
  • EVs are still more expensive than their petrol and diesel counterparts. The availability of public chargepoints across the UK is highly variable.
  • Many consumers face considerable anxiety around whether and where they will be able to charge EVs reliably, affordably, and quickly.
  • We heard calls from a range of witnesses for clearer communication and more leadership from the Government.
  • The concern the Government expressed to us about the scale of misinformation has not been matched by commensurate urgency in tackling it.

Faced with conflicting claims and alarmist headlines, consumers need a go-to source of comprehensive, clear and balanced information so they can make informed decisions about their vehicles.

The transition to EVs offers a host of other benefits, including reducing noise and improving air quality. 

The Prime Minister told the country that the UK needs “more time to prepare” and to tackle remaining challenges to the EV transition. The Government must now seize the opportunity it has given itself. It must publish a roadmap through 2035 setting out the steps it will take to achieve the target.

Key recommendations

The Committee is calling on the Government to: 

  • Tackle the disparity in upfront costs between electric and petrol and diesel cars, by introducing targeted grants to support consumers buying affordable models. 
  • Turbo-charge the charging infrastructure rollout by reviewing outdated and disproportionate planning regulations, and tackling delays in the rollout of key public funding programmes. 
  • Ensure charging is reasonably priced, convenient, and reliable by equalising VAT rates for domestic and public charging. 
  • Invest in UK recycling to ensure that recycling is undertaken by responsible operators, and that the UK is able to recoup as many of the critical materials contained in EV batteries as possible for its own domestic production. 

Chair's comments

The Chair of the inquiry, Baroness Parminter, said:

“Surface transport is the UK’s highest emitting sector for CO2, with passenger cars responsible for over half those emissions. The evidence we received shows the Government must do more – and quickly – to get people to adopt EVs. If it fails to heed our recommendations the UK won’t reap the significant benefits of better air quality and will lag in the slow lane for tackling climate change.” 

Further information

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