Government Pledges Millions to Make UK World Leader in Low-emissions Transport

The government has pledged £106 million to move the UK towards its low-emission transport goals at the recent Zero emission vehicles summit.

But with the objective for most UK cars to be electrically powered by 2030, what will the effect be on the motor trade industry?

Theresa May pledged £106 million in research funding to support the UK’s move towards becoming a world leader in low-emissions transport at the international Zero emission vehicle summit on 11th and 12th September.

The summit brought together ministers, industry leaders and sector representatives from around the world to outline an international effort to accelerate investment in electric vehicle (EV) technology and infrastructure, provide opportunities for countries to collaborate and put in place a structure of accountability around tangible low-emission targets.

While no one disputes the benefit of improved air quality and lower carbon emissions, sceptics have raised concern about the viability of such bold claims – especially as the UK poises itself for economic and social turbulence with the full effect of Brexit set to take place next year.

Creating greener roads

In addition to research into batteries, charging and hydrogen refuelling technology, there must also be a rolling out of a completely new plug-in network.

Amidst climate change fear and the measurable impact of increased carbon emissions on air quality and the environment, we have received many promises from world governments about big change on the horizon.

In accordance with its Road to Zero initiative aimed at promoting green growth and the development of a zero-emission vehicle market across the nation, the UK government’s goal is to make most UK cars electric powered by 2030. To do this, it will also need to push delivery of the substantial infrastructure that is required to support the practical usage of electric vehicles.

Along with research into batteries, charging and hydrogen refuelling technology, there must also be a rolling out of a completely new plug-in network where drivers have ready access to affordable energy. This is perhaps another area where sceptics feel challenges lie ahead.

With the nation completely reliant on fossil fuel powered cars and petrol stations, there is much work to be done if we’re to move towards greener, cleaner roads.

Influencing buyer behaviour

Is the UK prepared for a complete shift to EVs?

We’ve already spoken about the government’s demonization of diesel-fuelled cars and a change in the motor trade industry as we know it. But is the UK prepared for a complete shift to electric vehicles?

As it stands consumers are demonstrating they are increasingly interested in alternative-powered vehicles (APVs) and there is a growing hesitancy when faced with buying traditional combustion-powered cars. However, the kind of change the government has outlined for 2030 will take more than this.

In addition to deterrents such as increased road taxes, higher parking fees and more low emission zones targeting high polluting vehicles, incentives will also have to be employed in order to entice buyers into going for the alternative option. The government’s Go Ultra Low campaign is one such example of this, signifying an evolution in how car brands can market the benefits of EVs to capture larger segments of the market.

Impact on the motor trade industry

Electric is an entirely different technology and adapting production lines isn’t a straightforward task.

Naturally, the changes to come will have a monumental impact on the motor trade industry. One of the top concerns among those in the trade is the fear of becoming obsolete as new technology and services render traditional motor trade roles useless. But this is indeed the most extreme scenario.

It is likely that to support the move towards greener roads, the government and various players in the industry will have to work together to build a new system entirely. This will involve drawing upon the skills and experience from the motor trade industry and adapting products and services, rather than shutting them down and replacing them completely.

The biggest challenge will come with the manufacturing of EV technology, and whether this happens within the UK or not. Electric is obviously an entirely different technology and adapting production lines isn’t a straightforward task. Factories that currently build internal combustion engines will be eager to see how the UK government invests in new technology to support the automotive industry.

In terms of international investment, this will depend on the sort of deal the UK gets with the EU as it leaves the trading bloc.

To keep up to date with the various changes to the motor trade industry and the impact of EV initiatives and what this means for your insurance prospects, get in touch with ChoiceQuote.

How should traders prepare for the change?

There’s no need for car traders, engineers, repairers, salesmen or anybody involved in the UK motor trade industry to panic just yet. In addition to the huge ground that needs to be covered in our move towards achieving low emissions transport across the UK, combustion-powered vehicles will still frequent our roads for many years to come with a prevalence of hybrid cars set to be the next stage in evolution.

Rather than a dramatic shift, we are more likely to see a gradual change towards greener vehicle usage – this will hopefully leave ample time for preparations to be made by everyone.

In terms of car sales, a shift towards APVs will be one of the first signs of change in addition to major manufacturers investing in new EV technology. Motor traders should no doubt be monitoring the purchasing journey of new car buyers very closely to see how electric car purchases line up with the government’s 2040 zero-emissions target.

To stay up to date with changes and to make sure you are fully covered for all your motor trade services in working with EVs, get in touch with ChoiceQuote.