UK must do more to compete in electric vehicles, car makers say

Urgent action is needed by the government to respond to 'fierce competition' from other countries

An electric car charges up. The UK government must do the same, an industry body says. PA
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Electric vehicle production is at risk because of the UK’s inability to compete internationally, a motor industry body has claimed.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said urgent action was needed by the government to respond to “fierce competition” from other countries.

Measures in an SMMT blueprint on encouraging EV production include cutting energy costs, speeding up funding for green technology projects and expanding free-trade agreements.

The Green Automotive Transformation Strategy also calls for more generous subsidies and reducing red tape for proposed battery-production schemes.

The SMMT claimed its plan would make the UK one of the world’s most competitive locations for advanced car making.

It said the country must respond to the Inflation Reduction Act in the US and the Green Deal Industrial Plan in the EU, which feature steps to boost EV production.

Fully electric or hybrid vehicles comprised almost a third of all UK-built cars last year, with an export value of £10 billion ($12bn).

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“Britain boasts a firm foundation of EV production, backed by low-carbon energy, outstanding R&D [research and development] and a highly skilled and productive workforce," SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said.

“We must not squander these advantages. With other parts of the world turbocharging their support for the zero-emission vehicle transition, we need to step up to compete in this global race.

“Every part of the country has a stake in the switch and with fast, decisive action we can deliver for Britain the growth, jobs and green prosperity this country deserves.”

Sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the UK will be banned from 2030.

Updated: March 13, 2023, 12:01 AM