Sales of electric cars are not growing fast enough in the United Kingdom, according to a report by the National Audit Office. It says “substantial growth” is required to meet the government’s target of having zero emissions cars accounting for 100% of new sales from 2035. It also criticises the way public charging points have been installed in residential areas.
In November, the British government announced that new petrol and diesel cars can no longer be sold by 2030. But by September last year, just 1.1% of cars were ultra-low emission, including 0.5% that were electric. Sales of new ultra-low emission cars accounted for 8% of the market. The largest proportion of the UK’s CO2 comes from transport, mostly cars. The NAO reports that carbon emissions from passenger cars have reduced by just 1% since 2011. An increase by 6% between 2016 and 2019 has been attributed in part to a rise in sales of sports utility vehicles (SUVs), increased road traffic and travel by car, and revised methods for estimating carbon emissions.
The government recently set new targets: Six ultra-rapid charge points at each service area across England’s main road network by 2023, and a total of 2,500 across the network by 2030. The NAO report said the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) highlights that motorists who do not have a driveway need access to charging points. The NAO report said that between 2017-18 and 2019-20, OZEV allocated £8.5m to help local authorities install on-street residential charge points, but uptake has been slow. Local authorities blamed a lack of funding for the OZEV scheme on insufficient consultation regarding its proposals.
The UK government claims to lead the G7 countries in decarbonising cars and vans, as part of pursuing its pledge for net zero emissions by 2050. Clearly, it must overcome challenges on that road ahead.