CEO Update

Opportunity knocks in the shift to new technologies

17 January 2020 #CEO Update

As we move forward to an EU departure date of 31 January, the importance of SMMT’s role in raising the profile of UK Automotive around the world can’t be underestimated, sharing the message that we’re open for business and already developing the latest innovations and technology.

CES in Las Vegas was an interesting look at what direction the industry is heading in, and it’s crucial that the UK remains at the forefront of the shift to connected, autonomous and electrified vehicles. The UK pavilion and our activities, working in tandem with government and with the personal involvement of International Trade Minister, Graham Stuart MP, sought to highlight the country’s strengths and potential, getting us off to a good start to the year.

Likewise the UK delegation to EV100 in Beijing has enjoyed a profitable trip, visiting a number of new EV companies in the region, as well as established vehicle manufacturers. China’s new car sales might have experienced decline in 2019, but it remains the largest market in the world for electric, or ‘new energy’, vehicles. As such it is a huge opportunity for UK companies and part of the visit was intended to build bridges between both the country’s established OEMs and start-ups and UK companies as we have much to offer.

This week saw the government’s Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce publish its long-awaited report on the measures that need to be put in place to ensure the electricity networks and user charging experience are fit for purpose. The expansion and improvement of the energy system and charging infrastructure are essential if we are to encourage take-up and ensure seamless provision for mass-market electric vehicle use. The taskforce was set up in 2018 and involved more than 350 organisations contributing to the final 21 key proposals, with SMMT on the steering group and representing industry at the heart of discussions.

There have been many reports of late on the potential ramifications as well as the benefits of the mass take-up of plug-in vehicles, but with the right support and infrastructure this is an opportunity to harness the transformation of our motor parc to make the UK’s energy system more flexible and responsive. You can read the EV Energy Taskforce report here.