CEO Update

No one size fits all approach to future technology

23 August 2019 #CEO Update

The Science and Technology Select Committee this week issued a series of recommendations for the government to meet its target for the UK of net zero emissions by 2050. Among them were ideas for the transport sector, widely reported as ‘getting people out of cars’.

There is no one size fits all approach to future mobility – we have to recognise that people live in different environments and will have different demands – the truth is that car ownership will be with us for a long time yet, but we look forward to the exciting developments to come.

Ultimately consumers must have the freedom to decide which option works best for them. When it comes to hitting net zero by 2050, getting more of the latest, cleanest vehicles on our roads as part of a strategy to reduce emissions across all sectors will deliver benefits for the environment, society and the economy.

The automotive industry is already leading the way and has invested billions in zero emission powertrain and CAV technology, as well as alternative mobility services, that will go a long way to transforming our roads. We agree with the committee that what the government must now do is consider the incentives it can deploy to encourage uptake of the cleanest models, while investing in public transport and charging infrastructure to give consumers the widest range of options.

At the beginning of September SMMT will be speaking at Cenex-LCV at Millbrook, an event that celebrates the latest developments in low carbon and connected technology and cements the UK’s position as a leader in this space. The diversity of exhibits and seminars on offer demonstrate the ever-evolving response to the technological challenges ahead – with thousands of delegates expected from all over the world, it’s a reminder that our industry is global and depends on links forged across the world.

We also welcomed this week the important announcement of a continuity free trade agreement with South Korea – the seventh-largest export market for British-built cars – to allow goods to continue to flow between our two countries on similar terms as today. The deal comes with some important caveats, however, not least the fact that provisions allowing tariff-free trading for goods with significant numbers of European-made components might expire after three years (Rules of Origin requirements). It is an important first step, though, and one which is the result of much lengthy negotiation.

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