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Electric car incentives are essential to cut prices and drive UK to net-zero

House of Lords inquiry sets out measures required to keep EV switchover on track

Kia EV9 charging

Peers in the House of Lords have thrown their weight behind calls for new government incentives to reduce the cost of electric cars, warning that the Government needs to “put its foot on the accelerator” if the UK is to meet its self-imposed target for net zero by 2050.

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A new report from the  House of Lords Environment and Climate Committee has just been published, following the committee’s in-depth inquiry into the Government’s progress on the EV transition. Titled ‘EV Strategy: rapid recharge needed’, the report says government needs to act much faster, in particular by tackling the high cost of new EVs compared to petrol and diesel cars.

The report, which comes hard on the heels of latest industry figures showing a declining proportion of EV registrations amongst private buyers, warns that a combination of high prices, lack of charging infrastructure and mixed messaging threatens the widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

As well as backing calls for a new package of electric car purchase incentives, the Lords report says the government must act in three areas to move its strategy forward. The first of these is consumer confidence, where the Lords says Government should explore options to incentivise second hand electric car sales, including by bringing forward a ‘battery health standard’ which would help potential purchasers to have more faith in used EVs. 

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The report also calls on Government to reform road tax, giving a clear direction of travel on future motoring costs, and to reduce the 20 per cent VAT rate on public charging to 5 per cent in line with domestic charging costs.

The second area of focus for the report is accelerating infrastructure rollout, and here the Lords say Government should consult on a potentially controversial ‘right to charge’ measure for tenants and leaseholders in multi-occupancy buildings. It also calls for a consultation on making EV chargepoints mandatory in workplaces with designated parking.

The third area is more industry support, with the Lords calling for more work to enhance UK manufacturing and innovation in EV technologies, plus accelerated investments in EV and battery recycling.

“Surface transport is the UK’s highest emitting sector for CO2, with passenger cars responsible for over half those emissions”, Baroness Parminter, Chair of the inquiry said. “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.”

Now read our exclusive Opinion column from Baroness Kate Parminter on the problems facing the UK’s EV rollout...

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Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

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