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The 'Road to Zero' is "neither clear nor straight" says BVRLA

Wed 19 June 2019 | Back to news list

A new report from the BVRLA, which represents the UK vehicle rental and leasing industry, says that the Government "needs to supercharge its electric vehicle strategy if it is to have any chance of meeting its new 'net zero' emissions by 2050 pledge. Meanwhile, a report by Transport & Environment says that the national climate and energy plans for all countries across the EU are clearly insufficient to meet 2030 and 2050 targets. The UK, however, comes close to the top of what the report authors say is a weak field.
The 'Road to Zero Report Card' which gives a traffic-light assessment of policy progress across five key parameters, is backed by a 60-page report prepared by the consultancy Ricardo.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association's Road to Zero Report Card shows that issues with taxation, charge point infrastructure and vehicle supply are slowing down UK electric vehicle registrations.
The BVRLA analysis uses a scorecard system to provide a comprehensive analysis of progress towards the Road to Zero targets. In addition to highlighting issues around electric vehicle supply, it shows that the Government needs to make particular progress in the following key areas:
  • Tax policy – BVRLA says that persuading large fleet buyers to go electric is one of the fastest ways to boost the number of EVs on the road. A lack of clarity about what taxes will be levied on the buyers and users of EVs in future years means they are holding back.
  • Charge point access – BVRLA says that there are still too many rapid charge point ‘blackspots’ and the ability to roam between different charging networks remains a challenge.
  • Leading by example – the Government set a target to make 25% of its full car fleet ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) by 2022, but recent data indicates that only 2% of its full fleet are ULEVs. BVRLA says that the Government is way behind on its own plans.
The report says, however, that in the areas of 'policy measures' and 'user sentiment' progress is 'accelerating'. BVRLA says that the Government has made progress against each of the eight 'Road to Zero' measures that were selected for analysis, with some measures already completed. It recommends that Plug-in Car Grant support is extended to 2025 and also calls for a review of the effectiveness of the Workplace Charging Scheme. It also suggests that motoring taxes need to be more coordinated to incentivise ULEV uptake and also that Government should publish an action plan for meeting central government fleet EV targets. 
(Note: The Government has just announced that nearly a quarter - 23% - of the Government Car Service’s vehicles - around 90 - will be fully electric by 2022, with the entire fleet being EV-only by 2030. The DfT-managed Government Car Service fleet, which provides transport for ministers of state, represents only a small proportion of the overall Government-owned fleet, however. See news link.)
The BVRLA Report Card says that 'User Sentiment' is accelerating, that motorists recognise the need to decarbonise their vehicle fleets and to some extent are willing to play their part. However, there are still gaps in terms of public understanding about EVs. "Tackling behavioural resistance will be an ongoing challenge" it says.
LowCVP's Managing Director, Andy Eastlake commented: "I commend the BVRLA for publishing this report and for their commitment to, and focus on, this agenda.
"The Road to Zero - particularly in the context of the recent 'Net Zero' announcement - is highly challenging and progress will need to be made in all the areas identified (and more).
"There have, though, been advances, particularly in terms of vehicle electrification in recent years, but I agree that shorter term targets and even, potentially, quotas will be needed if we are to achieve the necessary trajectory to meet our long-term objectives, as expressed in a range of Government policies."
In a separate report from Brussels-based NGO Transport and Environment (T&E), a new climate ranking shows that EU Governments’ plans to cut pollution from transport, Europe’s biggest emitter, will fail to meet their own 2030 emissions targets. Only the top three, the Netherlands, the UK and Spain, scored above 50% in the ranking of draft national energy and climate plans. Europe’s largest economy, Germany, is 15th, setting itself up to pay billions of Euro to other countries for missing the EU’s 2030 emissions goals. The report says that all countries need to implement far more effective policies to reduce transport emissions than have been proposed to date. (See the report for more details.)

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