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SMMT urges political support to boost UK EV production

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called on every political party to sign up to key pledges that would see a 10-fold increase to UK EV production to 750,000 units a year by 2030.

Launching “Manifesto 2030: Automotive growth for a zero emission future” at its annual International Summit in London today (Tuesday, June 27), the SMMT urged political parties to recognise the strategic importance of the sector to the UK and create the conditions for for the increase in annual battery electric vehicle (BEV) production worth £106 billion.

However, the SMMT says that this is contingent on British plants attracting the next generation of electric models and scaling up an emerging EV supply chain, a process which puts the competitiveness of the sector into focus.

As the sector consolidates its post-pandemic recovery, it faces fierce global competition as other countries offer huge cash incentives and subsidies to attract green manufacturing.

The threat of tariffs from tougher local content rules under the UK-EU trade deal, which come into force in just six months’ time, would further disadvantage the industry, it says.

If not addressed, it would make British-built EVs uncompetitive in the UK’s biggest export market, while pushing up EV prices for British buyers just as the UK and EU try to accelerate their uptake.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The Government has set the industry tough targets and we are committed to meeting them.

“But we are in the middle of the most fiercely competitive investment landscape of a generation and need a UK response, urgently, using every policy, every fiscal and regulatory lever, to make Britain the most attractive place to invest. 

“The automotive industry rises to every challenge, so we set out today a challenge to all political parties: back us with the right conditions and we will turn our obligations into opportunities for our industry, for jobs, for the environment and for the UK.”

The UK auto industry is calling on all political parties to commit to the following five pledges and policy actions:

The SMMT wants has asked for five key pledges:

Britishvolt’s proposed £3.8 billion electric vehicle (EV) battery production plant in the North East

1. A Green Automotive Transformation Strategy for a stronger economy

Publish a Green Automotive Transformation Strategy that supercharges UK Automotive to achieve net zero. A strategy which enables innovation, attracts investment and secures manufacturing of clean technologies in the UK to deliver economic growth and zero emission mobility.

2. Net zero mobility for everyone

Foster a reliable and affordable UK-wide recharging and refuelling network through binding targets complemented by a motor tax and regulatory system that ensures no one is left behind in the transition to net zero.

3. Green skills for a greener future

Offer the skills workers want, by creating a one-stop-shop national upskilling platform, and develop the future talent that business needs, combined with greater STEM education in schools and a dynamic immigration system that attracts global talent.

4. Made in Britain – Made for the world

Position automotive and advanced manufacturing supply chains at the core of UK trade policy and market access. Secure access to global markets for tariff-free export of British-made vehicles, batteries and green technologies, and deliver export support services that allow businesses of all sizes to succeed.

5. Powering the UK clean tech revolution

Ensure net zero-critical industries such as automotive are able to access affordable and internationally cost-competitive zero emission energy to power the clean tech revolution. Dedicated energy and investment measures should be available to make zero emission vehicle production and use a reality.

Author: Gareth Roberts

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