Political Power Pushes Electric Vehicles in Germany and UK

The UK government stepped up a gear in its drive to reduce carbon emissions by banning sales of new cars or vans that run on petrol or diesel by 2030. Hybrid vehicles may be sold from that time until 2035, when only zero emission versions of these vehicles can be on the market.1

Literally doubling down on this drive, it’s the second time the UK government has moved its 2030 target; orginally set for 2040, then revised to 2035.2

To support this transition, the UK government has pledged £1.3b (~€1.5b) to establish more charging points, £500M (~€550M) to improve EV battery technology, and £582M (~€650M) grants to avail consumers buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles.

The UK Transport Secretary remarked “We are also leading the charge when it comes to the transition to zero emission vehicles”. However, this seemingly ambitious acceleration to a cleaner future merely brings Britain into line with equivalent plans proposed by India, China and Germany, and behind Netherlands and Norway, with 2025 in their sights.3

Meanwhile this week, the German government announced that €3bn (~£2.6bn) will support the development and production of climate-friendly cars as the auto industry grapples with challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and global climate crisis.

A central element of the scheme is the allocation of €1 bn to extend to 2025 a consumer rebate for buying electric cars that had been planned to end next year. A further €1bn will create a scrappage scheme for older trucks to help private logistics companies and municipalities modernise their fleets.

The planned premium would be paid when an old truck is scrapped and a brand new one is bought, even if it, too, is diesel-powered. However, subsidies for electric- or hydrogen-powered trucks will be still greater.4

Electric car batteries sold in the EU will soon face legally binding environmental standards, as it seeks to give local producers an edge in a rapidly growing global market. Europe’s battery demand is set to soar this decade, spurred by the 30 million electric vehicles the EU forecasts Europeans will be driving by 2030. Proposed regulations would ensure that demand is met by greener batteries with lower emissions, produced using recycled materials. “Batteries placed on our market, regardless of their origin, they will be sustainable,” Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said. Under the proposals, rechargeable EV and industrial batteries sold in Europe must disclose their carbon footprint from 2024 and comply with a CO2 emissions limit — as well as disclose the content of recycled raw materials in those batteries — from 2027. Regulations would require a minimum proportion of recycled cobalt, lithium, nickel and lead from 2030. To encourage battery recycling, the European Commission proposes targets to collect 65% of portable batteries by 2025 and 70% by 2030, up from the current target of 45%.5


1. Government takes historic step towards net-zero with end of sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, UK Government, 2020-11-18
2. UK plans to bring forward ban on fossil fuel vehicles to 2030, The Guardian, 2020-03-21
3. How the UK can lead the Electric Vehicle Revolution, Green Alliance, 2018-03
4. Germany pledges 3 billion euros to support crisis-hit autos sector, Reuters, 2020-11-17
5. EU seeks competitive edge with green battery standards, Automotive News Europe, 2020-12-10

Further Information

British state schemes to support electric vehicle charging, UK Government
More info about charging points across the UK, EDF Energy
2020s Greenhouse Gas Goals for Europe
German Attitudes to Greening Industry
Build Your Own 50mph Electric Bike

Map of the UK with charge point locations - EDF Energy

by Lukas Frisch Tonkinson.

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