Today was the first Budget since the net-zero target was adopted into UK law, where incentives for electric vehicles were sorely needed to help meet these goals. Whilst the budget contained some highlights for the electric vehicle industry, the government could have gone further in order to meet net zero emissions targets as soon as possible.
£500m for charging points
The extra £500 million investment announced today for rapid charging hubs is certainly welcome. Range anxiety continues to be one of the foremost reasons that consumers will not make the switch to electric vehicles and increasing the availability of charging points should certainly be welcomed.
But the government needs to implement a range of ambitious policies to support the adoption of electric vehicles. After all, 30 miles is still far further than many would travel now to refuel their car. Measures such as providing tax breaks for businesses who install vehicle charging facilities in underserved areas or encouraging the creation of more low-vehicle emission zones would be welcome additions to the Spending Review later this year and will continue to help drive the UK toward its goal of net zero.
The failure to remove the freeze on fuel duty is disappointing in respect to meeting the goal of net zero emissions. Such a policy would have focused the minds of car users and fleet operators on the cost of running a vehicle over its whole lifecycle. Not only that, but through sensible investment of the funds raised the day-to-day experience of owning an electric vehicle could have been vastly improved with even more money available for better charging infrastructure for EV owners.
The lack of clarity concerning the future of the plug-in car grant is a disappointment. We are still in the early adoption phase for electric vehicles and consumers and businesses need certainty that they will be supported to do the right thing for the environment.
Countries like Norway show just how successful grants for electric vehicles can be and the reality is that the government should have been committing more resources to the plug-in car grant, whereas now investment will potentially be left on hold.