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MPs highlight car dealers’ ‘inadequate support’ for low-emission vehicles

ScottishPower EV charge point

MPs who suggested that climate change targets require many UK motorists to ‘ditch the car’ completely by 2050 have questioned the commitment of car manufacturers and dealers to the promotion of  alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs).

In a report published today (August 22) the Science and Technology Select Committee (STC) said that technology alone could not solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions from transport, adding that the government cannot achieve sufficient emissions cuts by simply swapping existing vehicles for cleaner versions.

But as the committee encouraged a move away from car ownership completely in the longer term – through the promotion of new mobility solutions – it questioned the efforts currently being made by OEMs and car dealers to accelerate the current shift towards electric vehicles (EVs).

In the conclusions of its ‘Clean Growth: Technologies for meeting the UK’s emissions reduction targets’ report, the STC suggested that Government should impose ‘minimum sales mandates’ to compel manufacturers and retailers to sell more EVs.

The report said: “One current barrier to the uptake of ultra-low emissions vehicles in the UK is an insufficient supply to meet consumer demand, which has led to long waiting times.

“There is evidence in the UK and internationally suggesting that this could be partly due to inadequate support for the ultra-low emissions vehicle market from manufacturers and dealers.

“The Government should review the functioning of the ultra-low emissions vehicles market annually, to determine if there are sufficient incentives for manufacturers and dealers to drive the adoption of ultra-low emissions vehicles, with the first review published by the time of the Spring Statement 2020.

“This should include consideration of the value of introducing minimum sales mandates on manufacturers, using tradeable sales certificate framework.”

Earlier this year Hyundai managing director, Ashley Andrew, admitted that his brand’s efforts to satisfy demand for its new Kona EV had led to the creation of preferential lease terms on an Ioniq Hybrid for customers facing lead times of over 12 months.

Yesterday (August 21) AM reported on a survey compiled by LeasePlan which suggested motorists were still averse to the idea of shared ownership mobility solutions – with 79% stating that they deemed car ownership “essential to everyday life”.

Close Brothers Motor Finance, meanwhile, revealed its top ten tips to help car dealers stock and sell AFVs.

In the longer term, that shift may prove essential to car retail businesses if Government decides to act on the STC’s recommendations.

Elsewhere in its conclusions of the STC report published today, MPs encouraged the Government to act on the earlier advice of the Committee on Climate Change and bring forward the proposed ban on sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) powered cars and vans to 2035 at the latest.

It added: “This ban should explicitly cover hybrid as well as internal combustion engines.”

In the long-term, the committee said, widespread personal vehicle ownership “does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation”.

The STC’s cross-party group of MPs are demanding improvements in public transport, walking and cycling, which benefit health as well as the climate.

A Government strategy should aim to reduce the overall number of vehicles required, the STC said.

In order to do so, the MPs say they should ensure that the annual increase in fuel duty – frozen for almost a decade – is never lower than the average increase in rail or bus fares.

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