UK Not Ready For EV Boom Says Labour

Mon 28th Jun 2021

The British government may be speeding towards an electric vehicle revolution, but the project is likely to hit the brakes unless more is done to improve the public charging infrastructure according to the Labour Party.

Speaking at this week’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders conference, the party’s shadow business secretary, Ed Milliband, warned that the nation is heading towards a system where only the rich can afford to buy an electric vehicle, if electric is the only choice.

With Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledging to ban the sale of new petrol or diesel engines by 2030, Labour has argued that the UK only has 15 per cent of the charging points required to meet the country’s climate targets.

“The Government’s failure to roll out charging points across the country and the decision to cut the plug-in grant risks baking in unfairness in our country as we move towards a zero emission future,” Milliband said.

“For the minicab driver who relies on their car for work and is thinking the price of an electric car is simply out of their reach. For the commuter who relies on their car but is also worried about being priced out. For those in rural areas, the Midlands and the North where you may not be able to access a charging point.

“Government needs to step up and support new gigafactories, provide the means for consumers on lower and middle-incomes to afford electric vehicles and ensure the charging points are there throughout our country.”

Labour have promised to offer loans to those on low incomes to allow the public better access to electric vehicles, as well as a national scrappage scheme.

Offering some balance to the debate, Edmund King, president of the AA said: “To speed up the electric vehicle revolution, there is a long standing debate as to what comes first - the cars or the charge points? The reality is we need both to happen at the same time, with particular focus on the 30 to 40 per cent of homeowners that have no access to dedicated off-street parking.

“As well as making vehicles more affordable and increasing the number of public charge points, we need to ensure the cost of charging remains competitive. Drivers will switch to electric cars with incentives and provided recharging costs remain cheaper than filling up with petrol or diesel.”