UK automotive industry invested £10.8bn in first ‘electric decade’

New analysis reveals manufacturers have committed £10.8bn in UK electric vehicle battery R&D and production since 2011.

According to the analysis by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), more than 150 models of plug-in cars and vans are now on sale, while British factories have produced a quarter of a million electric cars, vans, buses and trucks in the last decade.

Ten years ago, six models of electric car were available, accounting for just one in 1,000 new car registrations.

Britain’s first ‘electric decade’ was kicked off by a £420m investment in Sunderland for the UK’s first mass-produced battery electric car, with more than 10 vehicle manufacturers investing in communities and creating jobs.

In a new blueprint for electric transition, the industry is calling for all stakeholders to match its commitment and ‘plug the gap’ between ambition and delivery in order to make Britain a world leader in zero emission mobility.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: ‘The UK automotive industry has set out its intent – to meet the challenge of net zero – and has backed that ambition with cash, investing massively during Britain’s first electric decade. As we enter the second, the stakes are higher, with some of the world’s toughest regulation coming, regulation that will seek to determine the pace of change in a market constantly buffeted by headwinds. But mandates on manufacturers alone will not drive the market. Delivering net zero needs a competitive industry and a competitive market. We need a holistic strategy with binding targets on chargepoint provision, attractive fiscal and purchase incentives, and a reliable, accessible and affordable user experience. We need a universal right to charge electric vehicles, for all drivers, wherever they live, wherever they travel and whatever their needs.’

Private motorists accounted for just a third of new plug-in registrations in 2021, with uptake far higher among businesses and fleets, which benefit from generous fiscal incentives.

Conversely, purchase incentives have been rolled back dramatically over the past year, with the UK’s EV adoption now falling behind some European markets which offer more attractive incentive packages.

Further growth in this market depends as much on charge point provision as affordability. Research by SMMT reveals that the ratio of public standard chargers to electric vehicles has rapidly deteriorated, with just one charger for every 32 plug-ins across the UK compared with one for every 16 just 12 months ago and significant regional variations.

The industry is calling on all parties integral to the drive to zero, including chargepoint operators and government, to help ‘plug the gap’ between infrastructure rollout and uptake.

Photo by dcbel


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