Prime Minister calls for UK to stay at forefront of EVs; £500M loan guarantee to Jaguar Land Rover for next-gen EVs
In a meeting with senior executives from automotive and energy industries, UK Prime Minister Theresa May outlined the government’s commitment to the UK’s automotive sector and called for the UK to stay at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of electric vehicles. She emphasiszed that this can only be done through a strong partnership between the industry and government.
The meeting was part of wider action from government to support the automotive industry, and the Prime Minister confirmed that Jaguar Land Rover will receive a £500-million (US$626-million) loan guarantee from government export credit agency UK Export Finance. This will support the company’s design and manufacture of the next generation of electric vehicles and its export activities.
The representatives discussed with the Prime Minister that as well as having long term consistent incentives and the right charging infrastructure in place to drive up demand for electric vehicles, the UK should build on its strengths in the development of next generation battery technology.
The UK has already made a major commitment to becoming a world leader in the industry through its £274-million (US$343-million) investment in the Faraday Battery Challenge and earlier investments through the Automotive Propulsion Center. Attendees spoke about how best to build on this and work more closely together to develop the next generation of battery technology, including by supporting small businesses in the electrified supply chain and the building of a Gigafactory.
Attendees also agreed to establish a Green Mobility Transition Board which for the first time will formally bring together government, industry and environmental groups to coordinate efforts to speed up the adoption of ultra low emission vehicles while making progress on ambitions to tackle climate change and further improve air quality. The Prime Minister’s Industrial, Manufacturing and Infrastructure Business Council will work closely with representatives across the relevant sectors to scope out the exact terms of reference and members over the coming weeks.
The Prime Minister also set out a number of new commitments aimed at making electric vehicles more convenient than ever before to own, including:
Making England the first place in the world where every new-build home will be fitted with an electric car chargepoint;
Bringing forward plans to regulate chargepoints so that they use smart technology which will send signals to electric vehicles to charge them at different times of the day, encouraging off-peak charging to keep costs down for consumers and helping prepare the energy system for mass uptake of electric vehicles; and
All new rapid and higher powered chargepoints to provide ‘pay as you go’ debit or credit card payment options by spring 2020, ending the current wide variety of payment systems which is a source of frustration for drivers.
The Prime Minister reaffirmed the government’s ambition for better access to rapid chargepoints by 2030, following her recent announcement that the Office of Low Emission Vehicles will undertake a review to develop a vision for a core network of rapid chargepoints along England’s key roadways. This would allow drivers to access them in a range of locations across the road network, including through and around cities.