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Labour Party announces interest-free EV loans, major recharging investment as members vote for 2030 Net Zero target

Sat 21 September 2019 | Back to news list

The Labour Party has made a raft of policy announcements - which may become General Election manifesto commitments - including measures designed to accelerate the transition to low and zero emission road transport. The plans include zero interest loans for the purchase of electric vehicles, state-sponsored investment in EV recharging infrastructure and three UK-based battery 'gigafactories', public car sharing and scrappage schemes. 

The Labour Party Conference also voted overwhelmingly for a radical bid to work towards a 2030 net zero target for greenhouse gas emissions. Such a target would be one of the most ambitious in Europe, bringing Labour in line with the Green Party, but ahead of the official government 2050 net zero target. The UK became the first major economy to pass a net zero emissions law earlier this year.

Amongst Labour's policy announcements were:

  • A £3.6 billion expansion of the UK’s electric vehicle (EV) charging networks.The networks will be made up of ‘en-route’ ultra-fast charge stations along motorways, and a mixture of ‘about town’ rapid and ultra-fast charge stations in more urban environments. Renewable electricity would be distributed by Labour’s publicly owned grid and newly created National and Regional Energy Agencies. 
  • £2 billion public investment (via Labour's National Investment Bank) towards the construction of three battery plants (‘gigafactories’) to manufacture EV batteries. The ‘gigafactories’ to be located in South Wales, Stoke and Swindon – potentially on the current Honda site. Each to employ over 3,184 workers with a further c17,000 employed in the chemicals supply chain, particularly concentrated in the North West, Yorkshire & Humber, and South West.
  • The introduction of 2.5 million interest free loans for the purchase of electric cars. Loans of up to £33,000 would be available for low to middle income households, those living in rural areas, independent contractors and SMEs. A Labour government would cover the £1,500 cost of interest on a loan, with individuals saving up to £5,000 over time. A condition of the loans would be participation in a mass trial of Vehicle-to-Grid technology "which will allow the UK to transition to renewable energy".
  • Plansfor a scrappage scheme to replace cars driven on fossil fuels over ten years old with new electric cars, offering buyers an estimated £2,000. The scrappage scheme would initially be available for one year and aim to replace 400,000 of the most polluting cars with new low carbon electric cars.
  • A call on all business car fleets to go 100% electric by 2025. To support them in the transition, Labour says it will introduce a range of incentives, including removing the £320 Vehicle Excise Duty surcharge on electric vehicles purchased for private fleet use above £40,000 for two years.
  • A commitment to make the entire government car fleet electric by 2025. 
  • The introduction of publicly owned community car-sharing clubs, putting 30,000 electric cars on the streets for hire by local people. Like the Zipcar model, these to be concentrated in cities and to provide limited numbers of electric cars. Community Car Clubs to be rolled out across the UK and to provide a fleet of low carbon electric cars that can be rented through an app.

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