Paving the way for the 'Road toZero'

I was pleased to receive the below letter today, outlining the pathway to 'Road to Zero'. This is a great step in the right direction. For Cornwall and other rural areas, the switch over to electric vehicles will need to be well thought out. Rural geography and lower than average incomes will doubtless be a barrier for many in my constituency. I hope the Government will make sure that those in rural areas are not left behind, for example by introducing a generous scrappage scheme or similar bespoke incentives. 

I also took part in a debate recently asking; 

Derek Thomas 

My hon. Friend is right that we need to take people with us and ensure that this works for them. Does she agree that if we provide enough charging points for electric vehicles and support people to purchase them, we can help to clean up our environment and significantly reduce the cost of living, because electric vehicles are so much cheaper to run?

Gillian Keegan

Yes. Last year I went to the Nucleus conference at Goodwood and saw one of the world’s leading electric car manufacturers, NIO—a Chinese company—which is solving the problem in a different way. Instead of creating lots of charging points, they had changeable units that people could pick up and drop off in a garage, like we do with Calor gas on the continent. We need to consider all the best practice, because we do not want to get policy wrong again.


09 July 2019

Dear Colleague,

One year today this government launched the Road to Zero, a strategy that is putting the UK at the forefront of a global revolution in motoring and helping to reduce carbon emissions, deliver cleaner air and build a stronger economy.

Our goal of ensuring at least 50% — and as many as 70% — of new car sales are ultra-low emission by 2030, and ending the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040, is one of the most ambitious in the world. Government’s £1.5 billion investment by 2020 is already enabling a vast expansion of green infrastructure across the country, reducing emissions from the vehicles already on the UK’s roads and driving the uptake of zero emission cars, vans and trucks.

We are particularly proud of this government’s achievements in the past year. We have now seen the installation of over 20,000 publicly accessible charge points, with more than 5,200 rapid chargepoint connectors, making our rapid network larger than both Norway and the Netherlands combined. The plug-in car grant has supported the purchase of 200,000 ultra-low emission vehicles to date and the government’s focus on supporting the cleanest, zero emission models is clearly paying off. The latest industry figures show that registrations of battery electric vehicles increased over 60% this year compared to the same period in 2018.

But there is more to do if we are to make the UK the best place in the world to manufacture and own a zero emission vehicle. That is why government has been working hard to create an environment that encourages zero emission technology. In the last week alone, we have:

  • Brought in regulations to make electric vehicles even safer by ensuring a minimum level of sound
  • Slashed vehicle excise duty for electric taxis, making it easier for individual owners and businesses to switch to electric
  • Introduced the first zero emission Heavy Goods Vehicles into the Plug-in van Grant, including the Paneltex truck, which is manufactured in Hull

We are also delighted to announce today that government is investing nearly £40 million in UK engineering projects that could massively expand the chargepoint network for those without off-street parking. We know that a lack of suitable on-street charging is one of the biggest strategic barriers to mass adoption of electric vehicles, so initiatives like this are critical to ensuring that as people as possible can access quality electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

We also know that a variety of payment methods across the public charging network is a frequent source of frustration for electric vehicle drivers, and a better consumer experience of using public chargepoints is crucial if we are to meet our objectives. We look forward to announcing new proposals in the coming weeks that will ensure all newly installed rapid and higher powered chargepoints provide debit or credit card payment by 2020. This will help even more people realise the benefits of electric vehicles and speed up our country’s journey to a zero emission future.

The environmental benefits of Road to Zero are clear: it has a crucial role to play in the UK’s commitment to meeting our 2050 net-zero emission target. But the economic benefits also demand attention. Independent analysis estimates that the global market for low emission vehicles could be worth £1.0 to 2.0 trillion by 2030, and £3.6 to 7.6 trillion by 2050. That is why government’s Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, a key pillar of the Modern Industrial Strategy, is harnessing the extraordinary innovation in UK engineering and technology happening today to take advantage of this opportunity.

As the Road to Zero strategy enters its second year, the UK’s transition to zero emission vehicles is going further and faster than ever. We look forward to working with you all as government continues to lead the world in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution while maintaining growth in our economy.

Yours ever,

Michael Ellis MP         Andrew Stephenson MP


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