Shell’s Country Chair for the UK has said that the national ban on petrol and diesel car sales could and should be moved forward to 2030, to ensure that the 2050 net-zero target is met.
In a LinkedIn post published late last week, Sinead Lynch said that the “right policy and incentives” for businesses and individuals making the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) should be developed as part of the Treasury’s £160bn recovery package.
Lynch argues that the market is “ready to deliver” the solutions needed to accelerate EV uptake, from longer-range batteries and cheaper vehicles, to rapid smart chargers, within the coming decade.
She says that Shell will be calling for “a plan to achieve the ban” consisting of fiscal measures such as VAT exemption for EVs and chargers; faster deployment of a public-access fast-charging network, carried out in collaboration with electric utilities; and further investment in demand-response technologies.
The 2020 Budget saw Chancellor Rishi Sunak announce £500m for fast charging networks – but the package is open to businesses which would use subscription models.
Shell has historically contributed to lobbying activity against more ambitious policies for electric vehicles. However, since the oil and gas major acquired EV charging network operator NewMotion in 2017, it has been calling for measures to support the uptake of low-carbon vehicles.
The road so far
The Conservative Party has said that its overarching EV infrastructure aim is to ensure that drivers are never more than 30 miles from a charger by the end of the decade.
Elsewhere, the Party has extended the Plug-In grant to 2023, following criticisms from green groups of its original Road to Zero plan. Created under Theresa May, the plan was aligned with a 2040 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales.
Under Boris Johnson, the Government will move the ban forward to 2035, as per the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) original advice on meeting net-zero by 2050. The change will officially come into effect at COP26, now delayed to November 2021 as a result of Covid-19.
In the meantime, the Department for Transport (DfT) is introducing green number plates for EVs, to help drivers benefit from reduced parking fares or charge exemptions offered by many local authorities. Proponents claim the move will make the EV revolution more visible, while critics believe the money spent on the plates could be better utilised elsewhere.