FTI Consulting Public Affairs Snapshot – Driving to Net Zero: The Electric Vehicle TransitionDownload a PDF of this article
The UK’s commitment to reaching Net Zero is one of the few unifying issues in British politics, with broad cross-party agreement on the need to decarbonise the economy. While the 2010s saw impressive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, driven in large part by the rapid decarbonisation of the power grid, the 2020s must see an acceleration in the decarbonisation of transport for the Government to remain on track to meet its climate goals. Electric vehicles (EVs) will play a central role in this key next step on the road to Net Zero.
The Government is already aware of this and has stated its ambitions accordingly. The commitment to phase-out internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2030, five years earlier than originally planned, featured front-and-centre in the Prime Minister’s ‘10-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’. Alongside this, the plan included £1.3 billion of investment to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure, with a further allocation of £1 billion to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains, including the development of ‘gigafactories’ – producing EV batteries – in the UK.
While greater detail and ambition is needed, this is a useful start that shows an appreciation of the challenges that the transition will pose and the opportunities that it can present. If the UK wants to have an automotive industry through the 2030s and beyond, it will need to be a largely electric automotive industry, supported by domestic gigafactories. This could also provide a boon to the economy, especially in those areas that are the target of the ‘levelling up’ agenda.