BEIS launches inquiry into UK electric vehicles market

Posted on 17 Mar 2017 by Jonny Williamson

As part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has announced the launch of a new investigation into the role of electric vehicles in the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy.

The BEIS Committee will examine barriers to the development of the electric vehicles market and the support it needs to progress, as well as consider how the government can optimise electric vehicles as part of a strong Industrial Strategy.

MPs will look at factors including charging infrastructure, purchase costs and incentives to increase electric vehicle sales.

The government’s road transport decarbonisation strategy and its ability to respond to potentially disruptive shifts in the market, such as the emergence of driverless cars, will also be scrutinised. The inquiry is expected to cover all electric road vehicles, including buses, HGVs, cars, motorcycles and vans.

The Committee is inviting submissions on written evidence on the following issues by Thursday 13 April 2017 via the inquiry webpage:

  • What are the key barriers to development of the UK’s electric vehicle market?
  • Does the government’s Industrial Strategy sufficiently address the challenges and opportunities for electric vehicles?
  • What support for purchase costs should the government provide after 2018, in response to the changing costs of electric vehicles?
  • How best can the government ensure that there is consistent provision of charging infrastructure across the country?
  • Is the government’s road transport decarbonisation strategy sufficiently flexible to adapt to potentially disruptive market trends such as driverless cars? How might these impact requirements for, and use of, charging infrastructure?

Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Iain Wright MP explained: “If the UK is to meet its decarbonisation goals and move successfully to a prosperous low carbon economy, then a thriving electric vehicles market is vital.

“Our inquiry will follow on closely from our recent investigation into Industrial Strategy.  Its focus is to assess how the government’s approach to ‘picking winners’, in this case electric vehicles, can best exploit the opportunities arising from this technology as a means of enhancing the strengths of the UK automotive industry as well as moving to a low carbon economy.  It will take a close look at the factors holding back the electric car market and examine options for how it can be better supported.

“As a Committee, we want to investigate concerns that electric vehicle sales and roll-out are not as advanced as they should be and that people may be put off buying an electric car due to a postcode lottery of charging infrastructure, with the availability of charge points varying substantially across the country.”

This inquiry is expected to feed into a broader innovation inquiry due to be launched in the coming month.