What is the government doing to support the uptake of green vehicles?

10 June, 2019

There's been a lot of noise about the uptake of electric vehicles but how much momentum is there behind the green driving revolution? And should your organisation take it seriously? We take a look at the UK government’s role in supporting the uptake of green vehicles and what green driving agenda looks like for the next three decades.

 

We’re on a road to zero

The Road to Zero is the name of The Department for Transport’s industrial paper on “cleaner road transport and delivering our industrial strategy”. It sets out a range of ambitious goals which include:

  • ending the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040
  • wanting almost every car and van to be zero emission by 2050

And there are pre-2040 goals too: the government wants to see “at least 50%, and as many as 70%, of new car sales and up to 40% of new van sales being ultra-low emission by 2030.”

So what practical steps has the government taken to make these goals a reality? The answer can be found in the form of cold hard cash.

 

Subsidies and tax breaks for ultra-low emission vehicles

To encourage companies and private buyers to drive more ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), the government is using both carrot and stick.

The carrot comes in the form of subsidies to encourage private buyers and employers to purchase new vehicles. For private buyers this equates to £3,500 off the price of a brand new car that meets the definition of a ULEV. At the moment, this is any vehicle that emits 75g/km CO2 or less. These incentives will be in place until at least 2020 and will continue in some form after that.

But how does this benefit employers? New ULEV cars leased through car benefit schemes will have this discount taken into account and reflected in a lower lease price.

And workplaces are also entitled to claim up to 75% of the purchase and installation costs of a chargepoint up to a maximum of £500 per socket. Read more about planning your workplace chargers here.

The stick - which really combines both carrot and stick - comes in the form of changes to the company car tax regime. For more polluting cars, benefit-in-kind tax rates have been increasing steadily for years. But from April 2020, there will be significant tax breaks for those adopting ULEVs, particularly if the car emits 50g/km CO2 and has an electric-only range of more than 30 miles.

The message is clear: the future of driving is green and those who adopt the new technology soonest will be much better off than those who wait.

 

Significant development of the UK’s charging infrastructure

One of the major concerns about adopting rechargeable cars is the supposed lack of charging infrastructure. However, there are large number of charging points across the UK which has 23,280 connectors at 8,543 locations. And this number is rapidly increasing with 652 new charging devices added between 24th April 2019 and 25th May 2019 alone.

The growth of this network has come about in part due to a £400m government Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund to accelerate deployment.

And the government isn’t stopping there as it wants to ensure charge points are available at motorway service stations and large fuel retailers. Which will turn our network of petrol stations into a web of charging points. It also means if you can get to a petrol station to fuel up now, you should be able to do the same in your electric vehicle.

Beyond this, the government has ambitions to turn electric street lamps next to on-street parking bays into charging points for cars. This would generate an enormous grid for electric vehicle drivers to tap in to. Making range anxiety a concern of the past.

 

Wider commitments mean no turning back

Although this article focuses on plans set out by the current Conservative government, the green driving revolution is reaching a tipping point that, regardless of the political party, we won’t turn back from.

This is partly due to the UK’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions under the Paris climate agreement. But it’s also because of successive government’s commitment to tax regimes that reward greener drivers. And this means consumers and organisations can see the environmental and financial savings that ULEVs offer.

Regardless of the colour of the party in power, green driving is here to stay. Help your organisation reduce its carbon footprint and make the most of the tax breaks and subsidies on offer.

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