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Environmentalists want more ambitious government plans.


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Environmentalists have called for more ambitious targets, and industry has called for incentives to buy Electric Vehicles.

Experts say plans to ensure half of all new cars sold in the UK are fully electric by 2028 will bring electric vehicle prices down “further and faster”.

According to proposals from the Department of Transport (DfT), 22% of cars rolling off Production Lines will need to be fully electric by 2024, rising to 52% of all cars by 2028. The target for vans is 8% by 2024 and 34% by 2028.

Electric vehicle prices have fallen sharply in recent years due to cheaper batteries and a growing market, but experts predict that plans to require all automakers to comply with the target should “have a fairly positive impact on prices”.

“More manufacturers trying to sell more Electric Vehicles, trying to get us to buy them is going to be a more competitive and therefore better market for the consumer,” said Richard Allan from New AutoMotive, a research group aiming to accelerate the switch to Electric Vehicles.

Economies of scale, competition and penalties for automakers that don’t hit the mark make electric cars cheaper, he said.

The mandate aims to speed up the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars, which will be banned from sale from 2030.

In making the proposal, however, the DfT said the Russian invasion of Ukraine showed that the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels made it vulnerable to “geopolitical issues” and that the increase in the number of cars using domestic renewable energy was “significant for the UK’s future energy security”.

Industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warned that regulation “needs to encourage consumers to buy, not just force manufacturers to produce”.

Market transformation works fastest “when mandates are matched with incentives and, for automotive electrification, we also need commensurate and binding targets for infrastructure provision,” said SMMT’s chief executive Mike Hawes.

The DfT plans to increase the number of charging points for electric vehicles to 300,000 by 2030, which is almost five times the number of public chargers today.

Mr Allen said government incentives should target high-mileage diesel drivers, assuming incentives would be limited by cost.

“It’s not just about switching cars, but switching miles because it’s the miles that save the CO2,” said Mr Allan. Currently fewer than 2% of miles driven on British roads are powered electrically, he added.

The initial cost of an electric vehicle is still much higher than a diesel or gasoline equivalent. On the other hand, they are much less expensive to maintain, so the costs level off in about three to four years, depending on model and mileage, according to the Transportation and Environmental Action Group.

The group’s director Matt Finch welcomed the targets as “more ambitious than anything in the European Union,” predicting they would “drive the price down further and faster”.

But the target of 22% by 2024 “could be much better,” he said. Environmentalists also agree.

All-electric vehicles have accounted for 15.4% of new vehicle sales so far this year. The government’s independent adviser to the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has recommended that zero-emission vehicle sales should reach 30% by 2024 and 73% by 2028 to meet the UK’s net-zero climate commitment.

Some Environmentalists would like to see the government go further. While other Environmentalists would like more support for Active Travel.

A DfT spokesperson said its plans, subject to further consultation “shows our commitment to switching to greener electric vehicles”.

The department said it would continue to work with industry to develop future regulations.

In other news, Dozens of electric vehicle charging stations could be installed in Walsall as part of a £340,000 scheme.

Walsall Council is considering initiatives to encourage more people to switch and ultimately reduce pollution.

A report has identified the location of the charging points, and residents will be consulted before plans go ahead.

The government’s On-Street Residential Charge Point Scheme Fund provides 75 per cent of the funding required.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said there could be five each in St Matthews and Willenhall South wards; four in Willenhall North; and three each in Birchills, Leamore, Pleck and Palfrey.

There may also be two in Aldridge North and Walsall Wood and Pelsall, and one each in Bentley and Darlaston North; Birch’s; Lemore; Brockswich West; Brown Hills; South Dallas; Phasey Park Farm; Paddock; and the Streetly.

The report said the scheme “will provide the opportunity for residents who do not possess off-street parking to purchase and charge an electric vehicle”.

It also said the sites were chosen to fill a void left by the private market, and that more funding bids are likely in the future.

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Environmentalists want more ambitious government plans.
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