Written evidence from Green Alliance (ELV0099) 

About Green Alliance

Green Alliance is an independent think tank and charity focused on ambitious leadership for the environment. Our work crosses climate, the natural environment and resource use. Since 1979, we have been working with the most influential leaders in business, NGOs and politics to accelerate political action and create transformative policy for a green and prosperous UK.


The electric vehicle (EV) transition is crucial to the UK’s transition to a net zero future. The 2030 and 2035 phaseout dates are crucial markers which the government need to meet to tackle its road transport emissions, but the pace of the EV transition will determine how big the emissions savings will be.

The government urgently needs to bring forward its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate legislation so that it is in place by a January 2024 start date. It can then be assured of attracting sufficient supply of ZEVs to the UK to drive the transition forward. The government can then look at what further policy interventions can continue to support the EV transition. It should focus on ensuing that charge point rollout is evenly distributed around the country and should look at what methods of supporting the second-hand market could be most effective in getting cheaper to run vehicles into the hands of lower- and middle-income groups.

Furthermore, government urgently needs to produce an EV manufacturing strategy that looks across the supply chain. It should include sourcing critical materials, refining and processing, battery assembly, vehicle manufacturing and end of life processes. Without a strategic approach to EV manufacturing, the UK will be left behind its competitors with significant impacts on jobs across the sector as China, the United States (US) and European Union (EU) all are taking bold and decisive action.

Government approaches

1. What are the main obstacles to the achievement of the Government’s 2030 and 2035 phase-out dates? Are the phase-out dates realistic and achievable? If not, what steps should the Government take to make the phase-out dates achievable?

The government’s 2030 and 2035 phaseout dates were some of the most ambitious transport decarbonisation targets around the world when they were made, and they should be applauded for moving decisively away from petrol and diesel vehicles. Yet, the government’s independent advisers the Climate Change Committee (CCC) have called for a faster transition to cleaner vehicles to remain on track with carbon budgets, and global leaders in the EV transition Norway are set to eliminate new sales of fossil fuelled cars by 2025.

Similar regulations and phaseout dates have also been in place for several years in the European Union so Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) operating in the UK have long had sight of the move away from petrol and diesel vehicles. The phaseout dates are, therefore, achievable, and there remains time for manufacturers to invest in new all electric models.

The primary obstacles to achieving these goals has come from a lack of clear, long-term messaging from government. The mechanism for achieving the phaseout dates, the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate, has been in development for several years and the design of the regulation was first consulted upon over a year ago in April 2022. Despite this, there is no official confirmation that the policy will be implemented in January 2024 as first designed. Government urgently needs to clarify the status of the ZEV mandate and continue to support demand for EVs by continuing to improve the user experience. This includes investing in appropriate charging infrastructure, maintaining tax incentives such as low benefit in kind rates and cutting VAT on public charging.


2. Do the 2030 and 2035 phase-out dates serve their purpose to incentivise the development of an EV market in the UK? To what extent are car makers focusing on one date or the other? What are the impacts of the deadlines on the ability of the UK supply chain to benefit and how could the Government seek to further support the development of the UK EV industry? Would the introduction of a plan with key dates and timescales support the development of the EV industry in the UK?

The 2030 and 2035 phaseout dates are helpful markers on the transition to a decarbonised transport system. They provide a clear signal for when petrol and diesel and hybrid vehicles can no longer be sold. However, the ZEV mandate which sets yearly targets of the proportion of vehicles which need to be fully zero emission is even more important so that OEMs can see a roadmap to cleaner future and can plan accordingly. It is crucial that government sets out an ambitious ZEV mandate, starting in January 2024 with targets rising as quickly in line with independent CCC advice.

As the rest of the world is moving towards phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles in a similar timeframe to that of the UK, it is crucial that these targets are maintained. Supply chains are being developed and if the UK slows on this path, it will see crucial investment and jobs drain away to those markets such as the US, EU and China that are moving decisively to an electric future. 

To further develop the UK EV supply chain, it is vital that the UK develop a battery strategy. Green Alliance has conducted analysis and interviewed a range of battery industry experts, and we conclude that a UK battery strategy is required imminently to safeguard this industry. It should aim to:

  1. Develop a robust UK supply chain through an integrated approach, ensuring security of critical raw material supply and introducing stringent standards for mined materials and recycling.
  2. Create a more welcoming environment for developers and investors through, for example, lower energy costs.
  3. Mobilise public capital to secure private investment, by faster deployment of government funds through the government sharing the risk of agreements and creating facilities to bridge the investment gap.


3. What specific national policies, regulations or initiatives have been successful, or have hindered, EV adoption to date? Are these policies or initiatives fit for purpose?

Governments around the world are setting regulations to secure supply of EVs. California, Canada and China are all setting ZEV mandates, whereas the EU and the federal government of the US have regulations targeting the CO2 intensity of vehicle sales. In reality, these regulations act in a very similar ways in forcing OEMs to commit to rising proportions of their fleets becoming zero emission.

California is the place best associated with the development of the ZEV mandate, having first introduced legislation in the 1990s. In five years, its EV sales increased from 2 to 22 per cent of total sales, with Q2 2023 EV sales 70 per cent higher than a year previously. Green Alliance analysis suggests that the ZEV mandate alone will deliver almost 14 per cent of all the required emissions savings over the fifth carbon budget period (2028-32), making it the biggest single policy intervention in the net zero strategy.

The main barriers to EV adoption are a combination of high upfront purchase costs and range anxiety. To combat these issues, government must urgently adopt an ambitious ZEV mandate which will attract EV supply to the UK, bringing down costs. It should also investigate different methods of supporting lower income households to purchase EVs which may have to include purchase subsidies. The government need to continue to invest in the UK’s charging infrastructure and should introduce interim charging targets to ensure it reaches its goal of 300,000 public chargers by 2030. It should reform planning laws to support local authorities to more easily procure new charge points and cut VAT on public charging so that lower income drivers without access to off street charging are not punished with higher running costs.


4. Given that the Government should apply a behavioural lens to policy—which involves people making changes to their everyday lives, such as what they purchase and use—is there a role for clearer communication of the case for EVs from the Government? If so, who should take the lead on delivering that?

Clear communication is vital to the EV transition. Mixed messaging coming from the highest level of government has had a damaging effect on the transition. The responsibility should come from the Prime Minister and must flow through the cabinet with the secretaries of state of relevant departments, the Department for Transport, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, and the Department for Business and Trade, acting as champions for these policies. The failure to do so thus far has provided a vacuum for inaccurate press reporting to fill the void.


5. What is your view on the accuracy of the information in the public domain relating to EVs and their usage?

The level of debate in the press has been extremely poor when it comes to discussing the EV transition. Articles regularly focus on individual cases without any context added or have made claims that, when examined in any detail, fall apart.

One of the most damaging articles was a comment piece written by Rowan Atkinson in the Guardian which has been roundly debunked. Unfortunately, fact checks never reach the same breadth of audience as the original false claim, emphasising the need to ensure high editorial standards around the net zero transition.

A campaign against EVs and the 2030 phaseout has been taking place in the Daily Mail over the summer. Some of its false claims have been highlighted by the London School of Economics but unfortunately many of the Mail’s claims have hit home with consumers and policy makers.


6. What are the overall environmental benefits that would result from achieving the 2030 and 2035 targets?

The 2030 and 2035 phaseout dates are crucial checkpoints on the road to a net zero transport system. The extent of the environmental benefits of these targets depends on the trajectory of the UK’s adoption of EVs and the proportion of vehicle miles driven that are made up by EVs. The ZEV mandate trajectory is therefore the key policy mechanism to deliver carbon emission savings.

Transport is the single biggest contributing sector to UK carbon emissions. Cars and vans alone constituted 17 per cent of UK emissions in 2022. Unlike vehicles powered by petrol or diesel, battery EVs do not produce emissions from the tailpipe and have significantly lower lifecycle emissions. According to Department for Transport (DfT) own figures, the government’s preferred ZEV mandate trajectory will save 415 MtCO2e of emissions between 2020 and 2050. Green Alliance analysis suggests that the ZEV mandate alone will deliver almost 14 per cent of all the required emissions savings over the fifth carbon budget period (2028-32).


While these savings are significant, we believe that the government should go further. DfT’s own figures show that its high scenario would increase emissions savings by 76 per cent to 732 MtCO2e 2020-50 compared with its preferred trajectory. Without revising up ZEV mandate targets, government would either need to offset higher than predicted emissions with faster decarbonisation in other sectors or by reducing the number of miles driven by all vehicles significantly. For cars, we estimate that this would be a 27 per cent reduction in miles driven.


With the phaseout of purely petrol or diesel cars and vans from 2030, government urgently needs to clarify what its definition of significant zero emission capability is (those non zero emission vehicles which will be permitted for sale 2030-35). Real worlds plug in hybrid emissions figures appear to be significantly higher than those recorded in test conditions. The most effective way to mitigate this risk would be to reach 100 per cent zero emission sales as quickly as possible or by minimising the number of non-zero emission vehicles that can be sold 2030-35 and ensuring only the highest possible standards can be sold at that time.



7. What are the likely costs that will be faced by consumers as a result of the Government’s phase-out dates for non-zero emissions vehicles? Are there policies or initiatives that the Government could use to specifically target barriers arising from unpredictable costs to the consumer, for example significant fluctuations in the cost of electricity, changes to road taxes, or the introduction of low emission zones?

The government phaseout dates are broadly in line with other market EV adoption trajectories and with the direction that UK market sales are already heading in. For example, New Automotive suggest that on current trends, consumers will effectively phaseout petrol and diesel cars in 2028-29.

Because of these trends, prices of EVs are coming down, with a number of models available for a little over £20,000 RRP. Nevertheless, EVs are currently more expensive in terms of upfront costs than petrol and diesel vehicles. It is predicted that average EV prices will meet those of petrol in diesel vehicles by 2025-27 although there is some uncertainty over these figures. In the meantime, government should open up cheap and accessible finance packages and investigate subsidising second hand vehicles to share the benefits of driving an EV with more customers.

The government should prioritise cutting VAT on public charging from 20 to five per cent to eliminate the unfairness in the system punishing those unable to charge their vehicles at home. Government urgently needs to investigate road taxation reform, in the light of the looming £28 billion hole in the public finances as a result of reduced fuel duty receipts in coming years. Any reform should bring EVs into the realm of motoring taxation but should be priced in a way to incentivise driving cleaner vehicles over petrol and diesel alternatives. The current inclusion of EVs in vehicle excise duty (VED) should be reformed to ensure that modern clean vehicles are not paying higher tax rates than dirty pre-2017 vehicles.


EV Market and Acquiring an EV

These questions relate to the UK EV market and uptake of EVs by UK consumers.

8. What are the main routes for acquiring an EV? Which aspects of these routes are working well, and which aspects could be improved?

Most EV drivers are first hand buyers which means that EVs tend to be the reserve of wealthier households. In contrast, around 82 per cent of total vehicle sales are in the second-hand market. At present, the second hand EV market makes up around 1.7 per cent of second hand sales, approximately 10 times lower than its first hand counterpart.

Upfront costs are therefore still an issue in acquiring an EV. Green Alliance research demonstrates that financing of EVs is still higher than equivalent petrol and diesel vehicles. Reforming the Consumer Credit Act, which underpins transactions, can support lenders to offer consumers bundled finance packages. For example, offering a vehicle, charge point and energy tariff together in single monthly payment package. This would simplify the process and allow consumers to compare offers more easily. Allowing rental and leasing companies to access the more generous parts of the capital allowance regime, such as super-deductions, would allow savings to be passed on to consumers via cheaper EV financing. Increasing the write down allowance rate to 100 per cent, for example, would result in a £35 a month reduction in rentals for a typical EV on a four-year lease.

Fairer access to the second-hand market is important to improve fairness. DfT could mirror policies such as the zero interest loans proposed in Scotland, or France’s social leasing scheme, due to be launched in 2024. As these policies have only been in place for a short while or are yet to be launched, urgent research into their effectiveness is needed. Civil servants from DfT or the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles will be ideally placed to work with appropriate colleagues in Scotland and France to gain a broader understanding of how these schemes are being implemented and what lessons can be learnt.


9. What are the main consumer barriers to acquiring an EV, either through purchasing, leasing, or other routes?

Upfront costs are prohibitive for many, including financing deals. These should be reformed as discussed above.


10. How is the Government helping to ensure that EVs are affordable and accessible for consumers, and are these approaches fit for purpose?

There is currently no clear indication that the government is concerned about the affordability or accessibility of EVs. While its flagship policy for EV rollout, the ZEV mandate, will help to bring down prices, its glacial pace through consultation and broader government mixed messaging about the EV transition is worrying. The quality of information in the public realm, discussed earlier, is largely a result of this communication vacuum.

Previously, the government offered a car plug in grant to support with the purchase costs of buying an EV. More research into the impacts of this withdrawal (in June 2022) and whether it has undermined low- and middle-income households from access cheap to run EVs needs to take place. By withdrawing this offer, there is less of an explicit push from government for consumers to choose EVs. However, the government should be applauded for maintaining low benefit in kind (BiK) rates, long a campaigning priority of the BVRLA.

The government needs to become a champion of the electric transition and move this crucial policy area out of the realm of a net zero culture war. It should lay the ZEV mandate statutory instrument (SI) before Parliament as soon as possible to guarantee a January 2024 start date. It should use the opportunity to champion the transition to e-mobility, clearly communicating that this is an approach which can safeguard British auto manufacturing jobs while driving us towards net zero. DfT and OZEV should then examine policies to develop the second-hand market to allow a larger proportion of the public to access these vehicles.


11. Do you think the range of EVs on offer in the UK is sufficient to meet market needs? Which segments are under-served and why? Why is the UK market not seeing low cost EVs, particularly in comparison to China?

The range of EVs on the market is not yet sufficient to meet consumer needs due to the high relative prices in comparison to petrol and diesel models. Despite encouraging signs from BMW investing in producing electric Minis in Oxfordshire and the new £4 billion Tata gigafactory, the UK needs to develop an EV strategy to attract further investment. The UK does not currently have a well-developed supply chain on EV materials, relying on CRM imports without the refining, processing and assembly capability to secure the future of the auto manufacturing sector. To stand out in a competitive market, the UK should focus on developing high ESG products so that consumers can have confidence in the social impact of their products.

Another crucial reason the UK EV market is struggling is due to UK energy costs. Energy in the UK is among the most expensive in Europe. Labour costs are also high in comparison to markets like China, demonstrating that it is more expensive to produce EVs cheaply here. While profit margins are still relatively low compared to petrol and diesel cars it will be difficult for the UK to compete in EV manufacturing.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero urgently needs to complete its review of electricity market arrangements (REMA) and reform energy pricing to allow the UK to benefit from its bountiful renewable energy resources and bring down costs.  


12. What is the future role of L-segment and personal light electric vehicles, and how will that impact car ownership and usage? What is inhibiting their uptake?

13. What is your assessment of the current second-hand EV market? How is the second-hand EV market projected to develop between now and the phase out dates?

The second hand EV market currently makes up around 1.7 per cent of all used sales. While this number appears low, this is around the position that the first-hand market was in 2019. First hand sales have grown rapidly in the intervening years, making up almost 17 per cent of EV sales in 2022. Cars tend to be sold on 3-5 years after they are first bought, so in the next years we should see a significant uptick in second hand EV sales. Already in Q2 of 2023, second hand EV sales grew by 82 per cent. If the trend from first to second hand market is set to remain for EVs throughout the 2020s, then we may see EVs making up 28-38 per cent of EV sales by 2030 and 80-88 per cent in 2035.

Current high upfront costs, residual values, leasing and financing dynamics are all areas which can impact second hand market development. It is important therefore that the government remains engaged in trying to widen the affordability if EVs by creating cheap and accessible financing deals and investigating policies to develop the second-hand market.


14. What is the relationship between EV leasing and the second-hand market and how do they interrelate?

Vehicles are rarely purchased outright in the first-hand market so financing and leasing deals are increasingly important. It is vital that the government push for all forms of purchasing by corporate or private buyers to focus on EVs and make sure that financial products do not disadvantage EVs. This way more cars will flow through to the second had market, opening up clean and affordable to run cars to low- and middle-income drivers.


15. What barriers are there to achieving a sufficient supply of second-hand EVs, mindful that second-hand vehicles make up a high proportion of all vehicles purchased?

Supply in the second-hand market is ultimately contingent on supply in the first hand market. In this light, the ZEV mandate, which will secure supply to the UK market by firming up the proportion of sales that OEMs will be forced to make, is the single biggest intervention that can be made to secure a dynamic second-hand market.

In securing this supply, the ZEV mandate should contribute to lowering prices as more OEMs compete to produces EVs that appeal to all areas of society. However, many EVs currently are high end vehicles, as the market is dominated by luxury brands like Tesla. Despite those prices coming down when entering the second-hand market, they will still be prohibitively expensive for the majority of customers. This reaffirms the need to investigate appropriate ways of building the second-hand market through policies such as zero interest loans or a social leasing scheme. 


16. What is the value and role of alternative transport models such as car clubs and micro mobility vehicles in the Government achieving the 2030 phase out date, and how should the Government consider their roles and opportunities for use in transport decarbonisation?

According to CoMoUK, during 2022, each of their car club cars reduced the number of cars on the road by 22. Clearly, therefore, there is an opportunity to reduce car ownership and the number of miles driven per person by promoting car clubs. Not only should transport decarbonisation focus on switching to cleaner vehicles but reducing the number of vehicles on the road has to be a priority to tackle congestion and air pollution while improving road safety and health outcomes.

By sharing cars, there is an opportunity to increase the proportion of miles driven that are fully electric. Currently, 14 per cent of car club cars in the UK are electric, where only around 2 per cent of total cars are. So, if more people turn to car clubs for the private transportation needs, then more people can access EVs. This will be crucial to drive decarbonisation in its own right and can also give those who are still interested in owning a car themselves the opportunity to feel the benefits of driving an EV.

Within the ZEV mandate, the provision that provides additional credits for cars sold into a car club is a really positive step which should help to increase the proportion of car club cars which are fully electric.

Electrified micro mobility options also need to be pushed, particularly to improve health in a leisure environment but also for delivery, retail and trades. One European study suggests 42 per cent of urban motorised journeys could be switched to e-bike or e-cargo bike, which, if realised, would have an enormous potential to free up cities.

The government should restore Active Travel England funding to support modal shift to walking and cycling and should prioritise certain cities as e-cargo bike hubs to prove how they play a crucial role in moving good around cities.


17. Are consumers charged higher rates of insurance for an EV when compared to an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, and if so, are these higher rates justified? Can the Government do anything to mitigate this?


Experience of using an EV

18. What are the main challenges that UK consumers face in their use of EVs?

Charging garners, a lot of attention in discussion of EVs but often the challenge can be overstated. As of August 2023, there are over 48,000 public chargers in the UK, a 42 per cent increase on a year previously. This growth in installations is currently on track to meet the government’s target of 300,000 public chargers by 2030.

The number of chargers is only one piece of the puzzle. Unfortunately, reliability has not always been good enough, which has prompted government to legislate to ensure 99 per cent reliability for public chargers. There is some evidence to suggest that newer chargers are already showing improved reliability and so the network as a whole will continue to improve over time. It is still welcome, however, that the government is focussing on reliability which can serve to increase public confidence.

The frequency of chargers also varies greatly across geographical areas and the strategic road network. London, the south east and Scotland have a relatively high density of chargers compared to much of the rest of the country which struggles with infrequent coverage. DfT should work with local authorities to offer longer contracts to charge point operators who will then have increased confidence that they can reach higher utilisation rates over time and help to effectively spread chargers around the country more evenly.


19. What are the main benefits that UK consumers could realise from using an EV?

Green Alliance commissioned research by Element Energy in 2021 showed that on a total cost of ownership basis, EVs save consumers money. Second hand owners could save £700 and £2,300 compared to a diesel or petrol equivalent and the savings for third hand owners would be between £3,500 and £5,600.

While energy prices have increased since this point, EVs are still cheaper to power on a per mile basis than a petrol or diesel equivalent in almost all cases and they demand significantly lower maintenance.


20. How prepared are car dealerships, service networks, repairs and maintenance organisations, breakdown services and aftermarket suppliers to meet the growing EV uptake?


21. How does the charging infrastructure for EVs need to develop to meet the 2030 target? Does the UK need to adopt a single charging standard (e.g., the Combined Charging System (CCS)) or is there room in the market for multiple charger types?

The user experience is vital to ensuring confidence in the EV transition. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a variety of payment methods and apps to operate chargers frustrate EV drivers. A single charging system would help ease these pressures.

The crucial issue is that in growing the charging network, we ensure that chargers reach all corners of the UK and don’t just build up in areas of high EV use such as London. A crucial element will be to work with local authorities to grant longer contracts to charge point operators to give them the certainty that they can reach high utilisation rates of chargers without just having to go to areas of high EV ownership such as the south east of England. Interim charging targets would also help to ensure that we can closely track progress to the 300,000 chargers target.


22. The Government recently published the draft legislation of “Public Charge Point Regulations 2023”. What assessment have you made of the draft legislation text, and what contribution will it make in ensuring the charging experience is standardized and reliable for consumers?

Public Charge Point Regulations 2023 is a very welcome piece of legislation which will help improve consumer confidence. Aligning payment methods, improving reliability, improving data sharing and providing a helpline will all play a vital role in improving the customer experience.


23. What assessment do you make of the requirements set out in the draft legislation of “Public Charge Point Regulations 2023” for charge point operators to make data free and publicly available, and how may this improve the EV charging experience for consumers?

24. In terms of charging infrastructure, are there unique barriers facing consumers in areas of low affluence and/or multi-occupancy buildings, such as shared housing or high-rise flats? Do you consider public EV charging points to be accessible and equitable compared to home-charging points? What can be done to improve accessibility and equitability?

Around 35 per cent of people do not have access to off street parking and as a result are forced to use more expensive public chargers. As a minimum, the government should cut VAT on public charging from 20 to five per cent to align rates with those placed on home electricity use. The government could consider tweaking planning laws to make it easier to run wires from three pin plugs at home to vehicles over payments, with appropriate rules to ensure that pavements remain accessible to pedestrians and those with disabilities.

More broadly, local authorities should plan charge point procurement in areas which will support those without off street parking to have chargers near to their home.  It is also important to regulate for existing blocks of flats and communal buildings have EV charging places added so that their tenants can benefit from home charging opportunities.


25. Is there a financial benefit to the consumer of choosing an EV over an ICE vehicle? Are there further benefits, aside from financial, that a consumer may gain from EV use?

Once an EV is purchased, there is a significant financial benefit associated with lower running costs compared to petrol and diesel cars. It is significantly cheaper on a per mile basis to drive an EV in almost all cases apart from when charging exclusively from some of the fastest chargers. Consumers with off street parking can also benefit from very low tariffs offered by energy suppliers and lower rates of VAT on electricity. EVs tend to require significantly less maintenance that petrol and diesel cars, reducing costs for the consumer but presenting a future employment challenge for small garages.

Green Alliance figures focussing on second and third hand market from 2021 show that second hand EV owners can save between £700 and £2,300 compared to a diesel or petrol equivalent with third hand owner savings between £3,500 and £5,600.


End of life disposal of EVs

26. What options are there for consumers for end-of-life management of batteries and EVs, and what impact does this have on consumer attitudes towards buying an EV?

27. What are the current regulations and responsibilities of disposal and recycling for EVs, and how effective are they? How much of the battery can be recycled from a technical standpoint, and how much of that is economically feasible?

There is currently no EV battery recycling market in the UK, with most batteries shipped abroad for processing. Before recycling should take place, EV batteries should be assessed for repurposing either as grid storage or remanufactured into new batteries. If this is not possible, then they need to be recycled.

Currently, manufacturers pay between £3 and £8 per kilogramme to recycle lithium-ion batteries abroad and then pay again to import the recycled products. Developing a battery recycling industry will therefore help to reduce costs for EV manufacturing. The cost of transporting battery packs is 29 per cent of a recycling plant’s costs so keeping a shortened supply chain will increase UK competitiveness.

Green Alliance research into battery recycling has found that recycling critical raw materials (CRMs) could supply at least ten per cent of EV battery requirements in 2035, increasing to 43 per cent in 2040. Our estimates suggest the economic value of lithium contained in all UK EV batteries that reach end of life in 2040 will be £146 million: £63 million for cobalt and £536 million for nickel.

To help develop the UK recycling industry the government should:


28. Is there a risk that the residual value of EVs may be lower than the value of the EV as a source of recoverable critical minerals, and how might this effect the flow of EVs into the second-hand market?



National and regional issues

29. What are the challenges or concerns around grid capacity in relation to significantly increased EV adoption?

Increased electricity demand will be a by product of the EV transition. The CCC suggest that electric cars and vans will increase electricity demand by 30 terawatt-hours (TWh) by 2030, and 65-100TWh by 2050. Current system wide electricity demand is 300TWh today which is set to increase to 600-900 TWh by 2050.

The National Grid have repeatedly suggested that the grid will be able to cope with the increase in EVs although upgrades and maintenance on grid infrastructure will be important in meeting this goal. Demand for charging can also be actively managed to ensure that peaks in demand don’t coincide with other times of high energy demand through price incentives. Rolling out solar panels on homes will also help those with off street parking to charge directly from their own electricity generation.

It is crucial that government invest in energy efficiency measures to ensure that energy is used efficiently, and that solar panels or other self generation measures become more widespread. The potential for EVs to mitigate periods of high grid demand must be fully understood. Vehicle to grid charging has the potential to help to mitigate pressures on energy supply by using EVs energy storage facilities. The government should investigate this potential and look to regulate for vehicle to grid charging where appropriate.


30. What is the role of distribution network operators in ensuring EV infrastructure can be rolled out sufficiently to meet 2030 target?

31. What are the requirements, challenges or opportunities for the development of public charge point delivery across the UK? How will the development of EV charging infrastructure in the UK interact with existing planning regulations?

Charge point operators have committed significant capital to rolling out charging infrastructure. Industry body ChargeUK has shown that its members are pledging over £6 billion by 2030.

Often a lack of understanding of procurement processes at local authority level or slow planning processes are barriers to rolling our infrastructure more quickly. The government should review planning laws to see how they can be streamlined to support charge point delivery while accounting for resident concerns and the natural environment. Best practice sharing is also crucial and DfT or OZEV should play a coordinating role to share local authority best practice around the country.

The government also needs to better track the geographical distribution of chargers around the country, ensuring that chargers are delivered all around the country. Longer contracts for charge point operators to have time to boost utilisation rates will help and the government should develop interim charging targets for local authorities to help reach its 300,000 chargers by 2030.


32. What are the issues facing rural residents, urban residents, and sub-urban residents and how do they differ?

The frequency of public chargers differ across locations with significantly higher concentrations in urban areas. Rural residents are, however, more likely to have off street parking where a home charger can be installed.

The government and local authorities need to work together to ensure that there are not parts of the countries that are effectively charging ‘dead zones’. Sharing best practice across local authorities, streamlining planning processes and setting charging targets for local authorities can help to spread charging more fairly across the country.


33. What role do you see local authorities playing in the delivering the 2030 phase out target, particularly in relation to planning regulations, charge points and working with District Network Operators? How can government best support local authorities in their roles?

Local authorities are crucial in delivery local infrastructure coordinating local businesses to unlock private investment in workplace charging and determining local need for charging. The government needs to play a more active role in sharing best practice across local authorities and providing support and guidance to councils struggling to rollout EV infrastructure.


International perspectives

34. What are the successful approaches to the rollout and uptake of EVs in other countries, and what can the UK learn from these cases?

Norway is the global leader in rolling out EVs. In 2022, 79 per cent of car sales were EVs and the country will eliminate new petrol and diesel car sales in 2025. EVs as a proportion of total cars on the road are around ten times higher than the UK.

This has been achieved largely through differentiated toll rates, parking restrictions and pricing incentives that all favour EVs. There are significant import duties and registration taxes applied to cars which are waived for EVs, financially incentivising their purchase. 

The UK will need to examine its road taxation regime due to the move to EVs undermining fuel duty receipts. Any reform should ensure that consumers are incentivised to make cleaner vehicle purchases.