CEO Update

Why zero emissions need government incentives

06 September 2019 #CEO Update

New car registrations posted an overall decline of -1.6% in August, but what is traditionally the new car market’s quietest month has the potential to throw up surprises as the market waits for the September plate change.

Interesting to note this month was the record demand for battery electric vehicles, up a staggering 377.5% – hybrid electric vehicles also had a strong month, with a 36.2% increase cementing a 4% market share so far in the year. It’s an exciting time for UK new car buyers, who now have a huge range of technologies to choose from that mean they can find the car that best suits their driving needs.

In addition to the cleanest ever petrols and diesels, the UK’s alternatively fuelled offering now includes some 27 hybrids, 27 plug-in hybrids and 24 zero emission battery electric and hydrogen models. There are even more new powertrain technologies and ultra low emission vehicles coming to market over the next year or two thanks to the massive investment being made by automotive manufacturers.

While the increase in the number of battery electric vehicles registered in August is a welcome boost (albeit potentially something of an outlier given the effect of pent up demand for some of the new models just being introduced), government has set itself ambitious targets to see the country reach zero emissions by 2050, with a heavy emphasis on reduction in emissions from road traffic.

On the current trajectory the market is lagging behind where it needs to be, and it’s clear that much more needs to be done, and quickly. Car makers have invested billions in new technology, but consumer concerns over infrastructure and, to a certain extent, range, must be addressed in order to increase uptake of these exciting new vehicles.

We raised these issues this week at the Cenex LCV event at Millbrook, where ULEV specialists from across the world met to discuss these important issues and exhibit the next-generation technologies that will filter down on to our roads.

Consumer acceptance of the latest ultra low emission vehicles needs the sort of boost that will only come from a long-term government commitment to measures that will make the vehicles more accessible to all motorists. Only then will we be able to make significant progress on the long Road to Zero.

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