The Environmental Defense Fund Europe (EDFE) and the Green Alliance have called on the government to make electric vehicles (EVs) more affordable and accessible.
On 11 November, the pair published reports in conjunction with Frontier Economics and Element Energy, examining how and why the UK should look to bridge the gap between the affordability of EVs and fossil-fuel vehicles. In its report, EDFRE found if policies resulted in half of new car sales shifting to electric across all income levels, low to middle-income households would see savings of close to £350mn a year in fuel and maintenance costs. Alongside this, the Green Alliance found low-income homes could save £3,000 to £5,000 over the time of owning a car, if buying or leasing a used EV, compared to the cheapest diesel vehicle.
Explaining that homes in the lowest two income groups make up just 4% of EV owners, while accounting for 10% of fossil-fuel vehicle owners, the reports made a series of recommendations for targeted action from government to ensure such homes can benefit from electric transport faster.
This included reducing the upfront costs of EVs through expanding loan and rebate programmes that aim to make EVs more accessible; adapting existing successful policies, such as extending the plug-in grant to 2025 and updating it to focus on lower income homes; and ensuring there is better dissemination of information. The reports also suggested setting stringent sales requirements going forwards. This would include ending the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, as well as introducing a zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate on auto manufacturers.