Government told incentives, tax breaks and strategy needed for EVs

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Almost half (44%) of UK motorists do not feel ready to switch to electric vehicles (EVs) by 2035, a survey has found, with purchase prices (52%) among the reasons why.

Published on 4 September by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the survey also saw a lack of local charging points (44%) and a fear of being caught short on longer journeys (38%) cited as factors holding back buyers. In contrast, a third (37%) of respondents are optimistic about buying a full EV by 2025.

Drawing on analysis it had conducted with Frost and Sullivan, the SMMT further set out that 1.7mn public charge points are needed by the end of the decade – rising to 2.8mn by 2035 – to deliver a full, zero-emission capable UK new car market. This means 507 on-street chargers to be installed per day, until 2035, costing £16.7bn. Despite this, as well as the reservations highlighted by the survey, the SMMT stressed that with the right strategy, the majority of barriers can be overcome.

It made a series of recommendations, including a long-term commitment to incentives to drive uptake, including the continuation of the Plug-in Grant and its re-introduction for plug-in hybrids, as well as VAT exemptions for all zero emission capable cars. It also called for a national strategic plan, delivered locally, to uplift the number of chargepoints; a multi-sector strategy and roadmap with targets for incentives, infrastructure and energy provision, alongside positive consumer messages on all technology choices; and for all public chargepoints to be made available for all road users – including rapid and ultra-rapid types.