The 2030 ban on new Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle sales – ten years sooner than originally planned – has put UK road transport in the fast lane to electrification. There's rapid growth in the UK electric vehicle (EV) market, with plug-in vehicles accounting for one-in-eight of new cars purchased in February 2021
But even though the green transport revolution is happening at pace, there's 40 million (mainly petrol and diesel) vehicles on UK roads. Making sure that all new vans and cars are 100% electric by 2030 will be a mammoth task.
With only nine years to accelerate and meet this massive challenge for EV expansion to reach 100% of new sales, the government must provide a supportive policy framework to enable industry to deliver on the timetable and roll out battery electric vehicle infrastructure at scale.
We cannot afford any delays on the journey to 2030 and the longer road to net zero 2050. The climate change clock is ticking and transport is a major source of pollution - accounting for around 27% of UK greenhouse gas emissions – mainly from petrol and diesel road vehicles, which also cause air quality problems.
Joint progress on EV
Business and government have worked together to make strong progress in the UK's early transition to clean electric transport.
As members of the Climate Group EV 100 initiative, we're joined with 101 other businesses globally to spearhead the roll out of sustainable transport. To help deliver on our Centrica Group 2045 net zero target, we've recently brought forward our fleet electrification deadline by five years. Our goal is to make our 12,000-strong fleet 100% electric by 2025, while also helping our customers transition to cleaner transport.
We recently announced the UK's largest commercial electric vehicle (EV) order – totalling 3,000 all-electric vans – and have already installed more than 17,000 electric vehicle charge points – ranging from 3.5kW to ultra fast 350kW. During the next year we plan to install an additional 23,000 more.
Government support has helped unlock the UK's early stage EV roll out, including tax benefits, grants and financial incentives for charge point installations and EV purchase costs. The recent Energy White Paper has set out a plan to invest £1.3 billion to accelerate the rollout of EV charging points across homes, streets and motorways, as well as another £1 billion to support the purchase and development of EVs themselves, such as funding for battery production.
This joint government and business action is paying off in bringing us to an economic and environmental tipping point – ready for an accelerating EV roll out.
Get ready for mass EV roll-out?
But now what? How do we achieve exponential EV growth in the run up to 2030? How do we make zero emission motoring accessible for everyone?
The scale and complexity of the challenge mean that EV specialists like us cannot do it alone. We need continued government support to help integrate energy and transport policy, which are intricately linked and can no longer sit in separate silos. We also need help to stimulate EV market competition and growth, and financial support to underpin the phase-out of petrol and diesel vehicles.