The policy and legislative gridlock created by Brexit is at risk of costing the UK a leading position in the global electric vehicle market, Peter Kyle MP has said.
Speaking at today’s Everything EV conference, organised by Current± publisher Solar Media, Kyle warned that the current level of government ambition on electric vehicles is not fit to meet consumer demand.
The government has stood behind its target to phase out the sale of conventionally-fuelled vehicles by 2040 despite mounting opposition and Kyle, who serves on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee, said that the government’s refusal to budge on the policy had been a “real source of frustration” for the committee.
He added that it was the committee’s desire for the government to be more ambitious than most economies and set a phase-out date of the late 2020s, but there has been little movement despite such a date being supported by the Committee on Climate Change, amongst others.
Kyle said that the debates surrounding electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure “should be front and centre” given their importance, but are being “squeezed out by Brexit”.
The MP for Hove spoke of a Westminster all but paralysed by Brexit – he himself had been in the House of Commons aiming to negotiate a compromise to “end the gridlock” – with whatever resource that is available being dedicated towards the ongoing negotiations.
This lack of movement meant that UK economy was now at risk of getting left behind, with the country’s growing EV sector possibly forced into procuring from Chinese or Indian competitors as the country’s domestic sector is left behind.
“The window of opportunity is open, but it won’t stay open for long. Britain must assert itself,” Kyle added.
He called for central government to be far more assertive and strategic when it comes to policy and work closely and cooperatively with manufacturers to identify and allay the barriers to public adoption of EVs.
“We need to be doing so much more… We must get a grip centrally,” Kyle said.
Day one of Everything EV continues throughout Tuesday (2 April 2019) and into tomorrow (3 April 2019), and all the developments will be covered on Current± in the coming days. A select few last-minute tickets for the conference are still available and can be purchased here.