Fears grow car giants could pull investment from UK over EV targetsAugust 1, 2023
Fears grow car giants could pull investment from the UK in the face of ambitious targets for electric vehicles starting next year
- Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch is said to have told colleagues of concerns
Ambitious targets on electric vehicles could see car giants pull investment from the UK, ministers have been warned.
Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch is said to have told Cabinet colleagues of major concerns about plans to fine car makers £15,000 a vehicle if they fail to meet production quotas on electric vehicles.
The penatlies will be billed to manufacturers unless 22 per cent of their factories’ output is electric by the start of next year.
The industry wants the zero-emission vehicle targets to be eased amid fears the UK is not equipped for the volume of electric vehicles on its roads. Bosses cite a lack of progress over charging points and insufficient electricity supply.
Ms Badenoch is the latest senior Tory to pile pressure on Rishi Sunak to drop the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars.
Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch is said to have told colleagues of concerns about plans to fine car makers £15,000 a vehicle if they fail to meet production quotas on electric vehicles
Penatlies will be billed to manufacturers unless 22 per cent of their factories’ output is electric by the start of next year
The consultation on the electric-vehicle rules remains open, meaning the industry is still left in the dark about certain elements of the plan.
Toyota said hitting the 2024 quotas, if adopted, would be ‘challenging’, while Honda suggested fines should not be issued for the first year the rules come into force.
Tim Slatter, chairman of Ford UK, said the mandate posed a ‘threat’ to the firm’s business and investment plans.
A spokesman for Ms Badenoch said: ‘Honda and Toyota are not the only manufacturers who have raised concerns.
‘Kemi has been raising their concerns with colleagues in the Cabinet.’
‘If major car companies employing thousands of people are saying that there’s a problem, then it’s her job to look at ways to ease that problem,’ the Politico website reported.
Cabinet sources tonight did not deny having been made aware of Ms Badenoch’s concerns.
Motoring has become a key issue in the run-up to the next election, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer suggesting his party’s failure in the Uxbridge by election last month was due to Labour mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to expand the Ulez (ultra-low emission zone).
Mr Sunak has declared he was ‘on the side’ of motorists and ordered the Department for Transport to review low traffic neighbourhoods, which have proven unpopular among drivers.
The Prime Minister also said the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars was ‘the Government’s policy for a long time. It remains the Government’s policy’.
Richard Holden, roads and local transport minister, this morning told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme the commitment would not be charged.
Toyota said hitting the 2024 quotas, if adopted, would be ‘challenging’, while Honda suggested fines should not be issued for the first year the rules come into force
But the policy is quickly becoming a battleground within the Conservative Party. Last week, the Tory hopeful taking on Sadiq Khan to be mayor told The Spectator the ban on new petrol cars ‘is not going to happen’. The Mail has called for a rethink of the 2030 target.
Senior police officers say the ban on petrol car sales poses a ‘significant challenge’ because there were still no electric vehicles on the market that could be driven hard and fast enough by officers responding to emergencies or chasing suspects.
Mike Hawes of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said: ‘Car manufacturers are investing billions in electric vehicles to deliver choice for consumers and drive uptake.
‘There are differing strategies by brand, however, so any Zero Emission mandate must be reflective of every manufacturer’s approach, including those who produce in the UK.
‘The flexibilities proposed by Government should facilitate delivery, not add further cost or complexity nor lead to unfair market distortion.
‘Accelerated market transformation is proven to work fastest when mandates are matched with generous incentives and, for automotive electrification, there is also a need for commensurate and binding targets on infrastructure delivery.’
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