Lawmakers in the UK have already formulated a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles. The legislation comes into effect in 2030, with several auto manufacturers looking to offer EVs before that time. However, before electric vehicles can take over the streets, the government must clear a few obstacles. They have to introduce effective ways to convince sellers and buyers to prefer EVs over conventional cars.
The current trend shows that England might as well reach its net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. The pandemic alone has resulted in a 186% increase in EV sales. The figures in 2019 were paltry at best, with only 37,850 electric vehicles sold. But in one year, the total skyrocketed, and there were 108,205 EV registrations in the country.
This trend would have to continue in the coming years, and it might have to gain more momentum by 2025. Only then will the government reach its 2030 and 2050 goals.
London Zero Emissions Zones
The Mayor of London also chipped in with his suggestions for an environment-friendly England. He had formulated a plan to introduce zero-emissions zones in UK’s largest city by 2020. However, his plans were halted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The mayor had to postpone the implementation phase to October 2021, but it finally came through in October 2021. Now it is fully active with 18 emission-free zones set up across London. The Ultra-Low Emission Zones are aimed to improve air quality.
Do they work? That remains to be seen, sadly. In fact, a study by the Imperial College of London suggests that the move is having little to no effect on the air quality. They found out that the air quality only improved by 3% as a direct result of the policy.
The real hurdle is not forcing carmakers to produce and sell electric vehicles, but it is convincing buyers to switch. To do that, the UK government is using its lawmaking abilities and trying to force everyone involved to adjust. One of which is by introducing legislation, which states that all newly built homes and offices must have a smart charging facility in their parking space. The law comes into effect this year, and it hopes to add a decent amount of charging spots all over the major cities.
Such a move will improve buyer confidence and convince the masses that EVs are the way forward. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and a lot must be done on the governmental level, to improve the charging infrastructure and people’s confidence. If the public only sees heavy legislation and no massive investment by the public sector, chances are that they will not cooperate easily.
That is something the overly ambitious British government isn’t realizing. The path to introducing EVs and removing conventional cars from the road requires lots of investment by both the public and private sectors.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK has stated that the country has over 25,000 charging points. But before the 2030 policy comes into effect, more than ten times that number will be needed. Currently, there are several hurdles hindering progress in this department. The CMA believes that charging stations at motorways, in general city locations, and in rural areas are not developing as quickly as necessary. The UK Government has allotted a 1,1 billion Euros Rapid Charging Fund, aimed to tackle this issue. But it is unsure whether the rollout will be fast enough to achieve the government’s target.
It seems that England is undertaking measures to improve air quality and the overall health of the environment. But the effort is restricted to legislation. The implementation is nowhere near that of Germany. Over there, the private sector is the chief contributor to the EV sector. So it seems that England talks the talk but does not walk the walk!