The Department for Transport (DfT) needs a clear strategy to increase the use of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) and reduce air pollution so it can meet air quality targets.
That’s the conclusion of a report from the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), which also criticised the DfT for the way it has dealt with the Volkswagen cheat device scandal.
MP Mary Creagh, chair of the committee, said: “The uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles like electric cars, is too low to meet the UK's climate change targets at the lowest cost to the public. Air quality targets that were supposed to be met in 2010 won't be hit until 2020 at the earliest. And it's been almost a year since we discovered VW had fitted cars with cheat devices, but Government has still to decide what action to take against the company."
The Government's projections show they will miss the target for ULEVs to make up 9% of all new car and van sales by 2020, which the Committee on Climate Change says is necessary to meet our climate change targets in the most cost-effective way. The EAC is also concerned that the DfT has no medium-term strategy to promote these vehicles after 2020.
BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “The Committee is right to highlight the continued opportunities presented by Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles, and we agree that Government should further incentivise buyers to choose them.
“The leasing sector is leading the way with the adoption of ULEVs. Some 4.2% of our leasing members’ vehicles are electric, and 3.7% of their new registrations in Q2 2016 were pure electric or plug-in electric cars. This is well ahead of the market penetration achieved across all new registrations”
Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has already recognised the fleet sector’s willingness to embrace EV technology, with businesses responsible for 72% of electric vehicle registrations in the first half of 2016.
Keaney added: “Our industry is determined to reduce carbon emissions. The committee believes the Government won’t meet its 2020 target of 9% of all new cars being ultra-low emission vehicles, but we can report that 9% of BVRLA leasing members’ fleets emit less than 95g/km CO2 already.
“Businesses will only be able to continue this growth with fiscal support from the Government. We urge it to introduce a workplace charging point grant scheme, narrow the CO2 gaps between tax bands at the lower end of the company car tax scale, and make a bigger commitment to in-life incentives for users of plug-in electric vehicles.”
Read more about the report's findings and the role the EAC thinks fleets could play, in the next edition of Fleet News.