The UK must install 700 electric vehicle (EV) charging points every day for the rest of the decade to support the transition away from the internal combustion engine.
From 2030, the government will ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars in order to help the country hit its ambitious 2050 climate goals.
But if the switch to electric cars is to be successful, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that more needs to be done to support the consumer to adopt electric cars.
The SMMT estimates that the country will need 2.3m charge points by the end of the decade.
But at the moment, said SMMT boss Mike Hawes, there are just 42 charging points being installed a day, well short of what is required for mass adoption of the new transit mode.
In London, for example, Hawes pointed out that there are 7000 charging points for a population of 9.5m – or one per 1,300.
The situation is just as stark in the other nations of the UK. North of the border, there are just over 2,000 charging points for a population of 5.5m.
Speaking at the SMMT’s first ever electric vehicle conference, Hawes said: “To deliver an electric revolution that is affordable, achievable and accessible to all by 2030, however, government and other stakeholders must put ordinary drivers at the heart of policy and planning.
“We need incentives that tempt consumers, infrastructure that is robust and charging points that provide reassurance, so that zero-emission mobility will be possible for everyone, regardless of income or location.”
His words came a week after the government elected to cut its subsidy scheme for electric cars from £3,000 to £2,500, a move the SMMT described as the “wrong step at the wrong time”.
Maintaining the plug-in grant and similarly exempting consumer electric vehicle
purchases from VAT would increase uptake by almost two-thirds by 2026 compared to current
predictions, the trade body added.
Hawes added that the government’s policy on electric vehicles at the moment resembled a game of “snakes and ladders”.
“This sends the wrong message to investors”, he added. “When other markets are increasing incentives, we are cutting ours. If we are to achieve our ambition, our world class ambition, we need a world class offer.”
This morning Ed Miliband is due to set out the Labour party’s policy on electric cars, which will include pledges to give low and mid-income houses interest free loans to fund the purchase of EVs.