CEO Update

All stakeholders crucial on the Road to Zero

12 March 2021 #CEO Update

This week the government published the responses to its consultation on the ending of sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030. While the automotive industry has a critical role to play on this journey, the list of organisations that responded is evidence of the wide range of stakeholders that are also pieces in the jigsaw. If we are to meet shared ambitions on driving down transport emissions, improving air quality and increasing the pace of the transition to net-zero, then everyone must work together within an overarching, clear and long-term plan.

To do otherwise risks the UK being overtaken by other nations. It is now absolutely critical that we enhance the UK’s capability in making electrified vehicles while simultaneously supporting the market for them, ensuring Britain is a country in which industry wants to invest. This means building gigafactory capability, investing in the transformation of the supply chain, in skills and training while also making sure stepping-stone technologies, including hybrid vehicles, are part of any strategy.

These models deliver substantial emission reductions now. Plug-in hybrid vehicles, with zero emission range typically 25-40 miles – more than ample given that 94% of UK car journeys are less than 25 miles – can provide a stepping stone to full electric vehicles for consumers either hesitant to make the switch or for those that have mixed journeys, often requiring longer distances. Furthermore, they have the potential to have a greater impact in the future as their range and performance continues to improve – technology never stands still.

It is now just two weeks until SMMT’s inaugural Electrified conference will be held online. The landmark event will provide a platform to discuss what is needed to create a sustainable transport system fit for the future. It will also see the launch of SMMT’s Blueprint on the ‘Race to 2030’. The event will bring together industry leaders, government, media and key stakeholders from the energy, fleet and logistics sectors, with panel discussions covering themes including the role of zero emission vehicles in decarbonisation, ensuring we have an energy system fit for purpose and how to take consumers with us on the journey.

Industry leaders including Andreas Krüger, Head of E-Mobility, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Peter Rawlinson, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer, Lucid Motors and Jonathan Goodman, UK Chief Executive and Head of Global Communications, Polestar, as well as political leaders Rt Hon. Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport and Anneliese Dodds MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer are all involved. SMMT members are eligible for a complimentary ticket to the event with non-members available to join by purchasing tickers here.

As well as the main conference, SMMT Electrified International Week takes place between 22-25 March, consisting of a range of virtual events highlighting opportunities in electrification in overseas markets including Central and Eastern Europe, China, Germany, the USA and more. To register for these events please click here.

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