We back the “landmark” 2030 ban of sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles but are stepping up calls for infrastructure investment amid concerns local electricity grids could struggle to cope with widespread future electric vehicle (EV) charging.
Boris Johnson will announce the new target today (November 18) in his 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution”. It brings the ban on new conventional cars and vans forward by a decade. The move aims to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles to cut climate emissions and local air pollution to help drive the shift towards cutting emissions to net zero by 2050.
The Prime Minister will also unveil a £1.3bn investment to boost the rollout of EV charging points in homes, streets and on motorways to make electric vehicles easier to charge up.
However, we believe some local energy grids are close to full capacity, especially in rural areas, and need major upgrades to pave the way for residential EV charging points.
Sustainability expert Rob Diamond said: “We welcome this landmark announcement to help tackle climate change and decarbonise the economy.
“The new 2030 target is realistic but we reiterate long-standing concerns that urgent action is needed to overcome the infrastructure obstacles that stand in the way of the EV revolution.
“If we take the worst-case scenario of everyone finishing work and plugging in their cars, then turning on the oven, kettle and electric heating, we’re going to have a system pushed to its limits more often and risk power outages becoming more common.
“We’re calling on energy network operators, the Government and transport industry stakeholders to step up plans to invest in cost-efficient and smart charging infrastructure investments that will support the uptake of electric vehicles and charging points.”
Home charging stations are regarded as key for a greener future as most electric vehicle owners are expected to charge at home rather than at supermarkets or on motorways. It is currently not mandatory for EV charging points to be built at new homes but Ingleton Wood, which advises property developers, expects demand to grow for widespread take-up.
Rob said: “The huge costs to upgrade the power grid is making some new housing developments potentially commercially unviable.
“But on the positive side, more property developers are working with us to help overcome these problems. By approaching us early to assess local power availability they can make firm budget allowances to be able to deliver home EV charging facilities.”
Meanwhile, the Energy White Paper is set to be published before Christmas and will outline key policy details on how the UK will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Rob added: “We need a clear roadmap. We need to see the bigger picture – a large-scale innovative strategy to tackle climate change, showing exactly where everything fits in.
“We’ve seen how innovative we can be when really pushed. Just look at the phenomenal manufacturing of ventilators recently and the ongoing heroics in pursuit of a vaccination for Covid-19. That’s how we need to treat climate change now. We need to see it as a cliff-edge – a point of no return – to tackle it with innovation.”