The government are currently under pressure to improve the popularity of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) in order to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK and keep up with new car manufacturing technology. However, so far there are very few ULEVs on the market due to the fact that the UK currently doesn’t have many engineers that know how to develop such vehicles, and that the government hasn’t developed the market properly.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has therefore suggested that the government should focus on three areas of their industrial policy including: “Ensuring that domestic firms in the automotive supply chain have access to the finance that they need, providing greater public investment for the application and commercialisation of innovation, and adopting new strategies in higher education, immigration and apprenticeship policy to ensure that the supply of engineers keeps pace with demand from the automotive industry.”
The think tank has also suggested that in order to create a ‘vibrant’ ULEV market in the UK they should provide more incentives such as free parking spaces and free use of toll roads to owners, as well as build more charging points across the country in order to reduce buyers’ fears that they could break down due to lack of refuelling stations. It is still not clear yet whether the government will look into providing subsidies so that car insurance providers can offer lower car insurance quotes for ULEV owners; however this could also make them more popular to the general public.
In their report, the IPPC has also condemned the announcement made in this year’s Budget that “removed the availability of enhanced capital allowances for ULEVs to leasing and rental companies” as currently most new registrations of ULEVs have been for businesses and leasing companies. Furthermore, it is hoped that by providing incentives for businesses to hire ULEVs, they will become more popular and will therefore encourage the general population to buy them too.
Discussing the report, BVRLA chief executive John Lewis said: “We are delighted that this independent report has recognised the vital importance of the vehicle rental and leasing industry in driving the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles, something that the government has chosen to ignore. We will continue to lobby for them to reinstate 100% First Year Allowances for our sector. Sales of new ultra-low carbon vehicles will not progress as everyone wants them to unless this happens.”