Electric car sales in the UK have to grow faster, says parliamentary report

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Sales of electric cars in the UK are not growing at a fast enough rate to meet the government’s target of having zero-emission vehicles account for 100% of new sales from 2035, according to a new report by the National Audit Office (NAO).

Despite over GBP1bn being invested to encourage the take-up of ultra-low emission cars, carbon emissions from vehicles “have not reduced in line with government’s initial expectations”, according to the report, which was published on Friday.

READ: AFC Energy launches new fuel cell test facility at its Surrey HQ

The data highlighted that as of September 2020, 32.9mln cars were registered in the UK, but only 1.1% of these were ultra-low emission and only 0.5% were fully electric.

“The aim to reduce carbon emissions from cars is not new and previous governments have been promoting ultra-low emission cars since 2011. To succeed they need consumers to be convinced these cars are a credible alternative to petrol and diesel particularly in terms of price and ease of charging. This requires the motor industry to supply cars people want to buy, at a price people want to pay, with a good range of models that meet different market needs and with adequate delivery timescales. There also needs to be adequate access to charge-points,” the report said.

As a result, the NAO, which scrutinises public spending for Parliament, said “substantial growth is required to ensure ultra-low emission cars increase from current levels to 100% of the new car market from 2030”, which it said will require “significant changes in the automotive manufacturing sector, increases in the availability of public charge-points and consumer confidence”.

Increased incentivisation for electric vehicle adoption in the UK could prove a boon for multiple listed firms in the space such as fuel cell makers AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC) and Ceres Power Holdings PLC (LON:CWR) as well as clean energy specialist Proton Motor Power Systems Plc (LON:PPS).

Other beneficiaries are firms involved in the production of hydrogen as a fuel source for vehicles and other engines, such as ITM Power (LON:ITM).

More famous names in the space such as Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) could also benefit from a quicker shift towards low emission cars, along with all the major car manufacturers, which all have ever-growing ranges of low- or no-emission cars for sale.

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