Think tank calls for “radical policies” to boost uptake of new and used EVs

A think tank has urged the government to focus on increasing the uptake of both new and used battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

On 4 February, Bright Blue published a report, Driving uptake: maturing the market for battery electric vehicles, in which it explored a series of potential new policies for BEVs. Come the end of 2020, 6.6% of all new passenger vehicle registrations were BEVs, accounting for the largest yearly increase. Despite this, however, Bright Blue stressed that in comparison to international competitors, it was clear the UK’s BEV market is relatively nascent, meaning more must be done to support uptake.

It recommended front-loading the value of the Plug-in Car Grant to equal £5,000, up from £3,000, from April 2021. This would then gradually reduce in value through regular intervals, before being completely phased out from October 2023, in a bid to encourage households and businesses to purchase new BEVs as soon as possible. It also called for a Used Vehicle Plug-in Car Grant of at least £2,000, made permanent for the foreseeable future, to support low income people into BEV ownership, and enabling enhanced capital allowances for businesses that purchase zero emissions vehicles for the purpose of renting and leasing them.

On the policy front, it recommended the immediate introduction of a mandate for all new vehicle purchases for the public fleet, both central and local government, to be BEVs; the introduction of an obligation on all local authorities to install on-street EV chargepoints within three months when requested by residents, unless reasonable grounds for objecting; and for interoperability to be made a condition or central and local government funding towards chargepoints.

It also suggested all petrol stations above a certain size should be required to have three rapid chargepoints, at least, by 2023, funded both by the petroleum company that owns the station and government,  as well as that the estimated lifetime costs should be made a mandatory inclusion or all used and new vehicle sales alongside the retail upfront price.