No Road Map to the Big 2035 EV Switch, Say MPs

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The government has come under increased pressure to clearly lay out its plans on how they will reach their target of all new car registrations being all-electric by 2035.

Big Pledges for 2030 and 2035

In November 2020 Boris Johnson’s Conservative government pulled forward plans to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030. Following that initial ban, hybrid cars would follow suit in 2035; by the end of 2035 all registrations for new cars would be for pure electric models.

Since 2019 there have been schemes in place to encourage electric vehicle (EV) ownership such as the plug-in car grant; Transport Secretary Grant Shapps claimed the scheme was so successful that in 2019 a “fully electric car was sold every 15 minutes.”

“No Plan” is Apparent

The chair of the Public Account Committee, Meg Hillier MP, gave a far more pessimistic view on the government’s ambitions, saying “The government has a mountain to climb to get all new cars in the UK emitting zero carbon in the next 14 years.”

Hillier further reminded those listening that “This isn’t about more targets with no plan behind them inevitably getting missed – it’s about averting the real-world challenges that are bearing down on all of us.”.

Industry Agrees

It seems that Hillier is not alone in her dismay at the apparent lack of concrete proposals and a clear roadmap to success in 2035. Chief executive Mike Hawes of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) agreed with the view given by Hillier and the Public Accounts Committee, pointing out that there was a grave need for a “holistic” plan from the government. The main thrust of this plan, according to Hawes, has to be to “convince consumers to make the switch.”

Hawes also pointed to the need to make EVs cheaper, and the need to ensure that recharging EVs becomes as easy as it is currently to refuel a petrol and diesel car. Zap Map reports that at the time of writing today’s blog, there are currently in the UK:

  • 41,076 connectors
  • 23,8946 charging devices
  • 15,247 locations across the UK

It seems progress is being made, but with “rapid” and “ultra-rapid” chargers still forming a small minority of those charge points, we are still a long way from Hawes idea of charging being as easy as fuelling is today.

Smart Scaling is Key

The government continues to claim that they are on track to achieve their targets by 2035. However, with no solid plans laid out, it’s hard to really judge to what degree they’re being successful at this stage of the journey.

Besides the lack of concrete plans, there is also a problem with the rollout of smart charging solutions at scale. That’s according to David Watson; the CEO and Founder of Ohme, a brand of smart home charger that helps users find optimum times to charge EVs and even earn money by charging. Watson claims that scaling up smart charging solutions will “significantly lower the running costs of EVs for drivers,” and “future proof the grid in the face of increased energy demand.”.

Will we see more substantive plans from the government as the 2035 deadline looms ever closer? Will the stark words of Hillier’s PAC and key industry figures spark a flame of structured action within government circles? Only time will tell.