UK to adopt Electric Vehicles in 2030

In light of HM Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the 2030 ‘zero petrol and diesel sales’ target for cars and light vans, City Science have authored a white paper to support local authorities with accelerating the shift to electric and zero carbon vehicles.

Executive Summary

The UK government acknowledges that “transport has a huge role to play in the economy reaching net zero” (DfT, 2020). Yet, since 1990, transport has seen only a 3% reduction in overall emissions and remains the single largest contributor to the UK’s GHG emissions (DfT, 2020). In an average local authority, transport is responsible for 35.5% of all emissions (City Science, 2020) and is therefore a key concern for policymakers addressing carbon reduction targets.

The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution (HM Government, 2020) provides a strong focus on accelerating the transition to Electric Vehicles (EVs) through supporting manufacturers and transforming our national infrastructure. Ten years earlier than initially planned, 2030 will see a ban in the sale of petrol and diesel cars and light vans. Although it will take time for the full fleet to be replaced, the aim is that almost every car will be zero emissions at the tailpipe by 2050 at the latest. The plan encourages radical change and presents an opportunity for local authorities to take a leadership role in decarbonisation.

In order to prepare for 2030, change must begin now. This is an important year to engage with decarbonisation considering that operators of the electrical grid (or DNOs) will also be preparing their five year investment plans through the RIIO-ED2 process. Spanning 2023 to 2028, it is essential that local authorities ensure investment over this period is aligned to their decarbonisation objectives.

However, knowing what investments or initiatives to prioritise is not always easy. Decarbonisation needs to occur across every aspect of our transport system including personal vehicles, public transport and freight as well as in adjacent sectors such as buildings and employment sites. It is therefore often complex to know how best to proceed.

The purpose of this white paper is to collate research on zero carbon fuels across personal vehicles, buses and freight to help local authorities understand what evidence is required, what analysis to undertake and how strategies can be progressed to help accelerate the shift to electric and zero carbon vehicles. The key recommendations within have been drawn from our analysis and are intended to help local authorities navigate the complexity.

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