Global chip shortages sent vehicle sales plummeting in the final months of 2021. In the UK, new car registrations in October were at their lowest level in three decades, with one notable exception. Electric vehicle (EV) sales exceeded expectations, with registrations up 43% year-over-year. The 24,537 new plug-ins made up 23.1% of the total passenger vehicles sold that month. There has been substantial growth in the electric fleet space as well, as companies across the country take advantage of existing grants and incentives and the lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) EVs enjoy over traditional vehicles.
In 2022, the automotive industry will continue to face numerous challenges, including ongoing supply chain constrictions, rising inflation and higher lending costs. That’s prompted some to question whether the electrification of transport can continue its momentum in the new year. Tanya Sinclair is the Director of Public Policy for the UK, Ireland and Nordics for ChargePoint, a leading EV charging network in Europe and North America. Below, she predicts what policy changes to expect in 2022 that will allow the country to maintain its global leadership role in the electrification of transport.
Expanding equitable access to EVs and EV charging
In 2022, there will be a focus on equitable access to EVs and EV charging stations, including ride-share and taxis, public transport and deliveries. Currently, EV charging isn’t easily accessible everywhere, which impacts EV adoption rates as many people worry about their ability to find a charger, especially on longer road trips. This year, the industry will focus on making sure EV chargers are installed where they are needed, at the appropriate charging speeds. Additionally, there are tax variances that disadvantage people without access to home charging. For example, EV drivers pay a 5% VAT for home charging, but 20% when they are forced to charge on the street. These discrepancies must be addressed to ensure people have equal access no matter their economic circumstances or where they live.
Extending the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation
Look for the extension of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) for electricity in 2022. Electricity is currently excluded from the RTFO and we would like it to be included like biofuels and hydrogen, so ChargePoint operators can trade clean fuels credits. The government has opened a Low Carbon Fuels call for ideas, which asks for views on this.
Increasing EV infrastructure
To ensure auto manufacturers adhere to the planned 2030 deadline for the phaseout of gasoline and diesel vehicles, getting the UK ZEV mandate right is a must in 2022. Not only will the mandate make automakers accountable and ensure they are doing their part to meet the country’s climate goals, but it also helps EV charging companies determine how many charging stations will be necessary and where that infrastructure will be most crucial as demand grows. With the clock ticking, the UK government should look toward successful California and British Columbia models for a blueprint on how to structure its own ZEV mandate.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.
Tanya Sinclair is Policy Director UK & Ireland, at ChargePoint
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