SMMT join FairCharge in calling for VAT cut on public charging

When announcing the latest round of figures on car sales in the UK, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders have added their voice to the growing demand for a reduction in the VAT payable when using public charge points.

The Tesla Model Y was the best selling car in June and while that should offer encouragement that the take-up of electric vehicles is accelerating, the majority of those will have been fleet registrations, rather than being paid for out of the pocket of the average Brit.

black and silver car on parking lot

At the halfway point in the year SMMT compared sales in the first six months of 2023 with the equivalent period last year to reveal that the sale of battery electric vehicles had grown by 32.7%.

They point out however: ‘It is business and fleets, however, rather than private buyers, that continue to drive this growth, thanks to the attractive fiscal incentives on offer. Although manufacturers are offering a range of BEV deals for private buyers, including flexible subscription models and attractive finance rates, more could be done by other stakeholders to make purchasing even more compelling.’

The fact that drivers who can charge their cars at home are only subject to 5% VAT while those who rely on the public charging infrastructure pay 20% is seen as a major impediment to the widespread adoption of EVs.

FairCharge is a national campaign which was founded by Quentin Willson (a confirmed speaker at our National Air Quality News Conference in London on 8th November) with the aim of ensuring the UK has the right EV-related policies for the environment, economy and drivers. 

Quentin Willson says: ‘The Government have got to make it a no-brainer to switch to an EV and not just for the rich, for absolutely everybody.’

SMMT have now joined FairCharge in calling for a change, with Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, saying: ‘The new car market is growing back and growing green, as the attractions of electric cars become apparent to more drivers. But meeting our climate goals means we have to move even faster. Most electric vehicle owners enjoy the convenience and cost saving of charging at home but those that do not have a driveway or designated parking space must pay four times as much in tax for the same amount of energy. This is unfair and risks delaying greater uptake, so cutting VAT on public EV charging will help make owning an EV fairer and attractive to even more people.’

Quentin has set up a petition which has, to date, been signed by 85,000 people:

Petition · Make Electric Vehicles fairer and more affordable before it’s too late! ·


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