As the government works towards its ambitious target of banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, it’s clear there is still a lot of work to be done before the UK can achieve a cleaner and greener future by the end of the decade.

Sign of the times

Six months after their introduction in December 2020, green numberplates are becoming a more  common sight on UK roads. However, recent research has shown that there is still work to be done when it comes to raising awareness of the zero emissions vehicles on our roads, as a third of people polled by the AA didn’t know what the new numberplates represented. Drivers under 24 and those based in London were more likely to be aware of their meaning. However, as well as thinking they allow people to park in green zones, some respondents thought the plates denote being an Irish national, a member of the Green Party or even that the driver had voted for Brexit!

Initial misconceptions aside, hopefully the increasing number green numberplates seen on our day-to-day journeys will lead to the intended message that electric cars are now a mainstream part of motoring rather than just a niche area.

Charging the nation

The availability of public chargers remains a valid concern for potential EV buyers, with the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng recently acknowledging the issue of EV infrastructure at the Virtual Smart Transport Conference where he said, “Anecdotally, lots of people out there want to adopt electric vehicles. But one of the main things that is stopping people doing so is the lack of provision for charging points. And this is something which the government is fully aware of.”

He went on to talk about how the government has committed an extra £300m in addition to the £500m already earmarked for the nationwide rollout of EV charging points. Currently there are around 42,000 public charging points in the UK. Estimates of how many will be needed by 2030 vary wildly, with the Policy Exchange think tank putting the number at 400,000 while the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders believe it will be more like 2.3 million.

Upskilling for the green economy

Another issue mentioned by Kwasi Kwarteng was the need to make sure there are enough skilled professionals to work on electric vehicles as the demand for them increases. As manufacturers of NVH solutions, we at Interflex know the importance of staying ahead of the curve when it comes to innovating with new technology, and this is an issue not just for the motor trade but for the green economy of the future as a whole. It’s incredibly important to for the UK to invest in the skillset it needs for the future and the government’s Green Jobs Taskforce has a big challenge ahead in doing so.

Incentivising change

In May, a House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report criticised the government, saying there was a lack of a ‘clear published plan’ to meet the 2030 target. A clear example of this is their recent decision to make more cuts to the plug-in car grant. After a £500 cut in March 2020, the grant for EVs has now been reduced from £3,000 to £2,500. Not only that, but the list price cap has also come down from £50,000 to £35,000 with immediate effect. This reduction in incentives to buy will inevitably have an effect on the sale of the zero-emission cars and vans that the government’s own targets require us to buy. Little wonder then that the SMMT has branded this decision “The wrong move at the wrong time”.

Gearing up for green

As part of the collective effort to phase out diesel and petrol vehicles by 2030, we at Interflex will be continuing our legacy of innovation by designing NVH and sealing solutions for a green future. To find out more, please call us on 01949 861 494 or email