The Workers Union is asking whether 2022 is the year that electric vehicles (EVs) become the car of choice for business fleets.
The news comes as the price of EVs is expected to fall – despite the cut in government grants and the turbulent nature of the energy markets.
A spokesperson for The Workers Union said: ‘Electric vehicles form a powerful bulwark against pollution and are a key part of any self-respecting plan to fight climate change. Yes, there are still issues to be resolved around the production of batteries and the range of the vehicles, but a virtuous circle of increased take up amongst businesses and consumers and resource allocation from manufacturers will bring green transport a step closer. For the sake of our economic interests and the natural environment, we have to get this right.’
Interest in electric vehicles has grown since politicians started offering incentives to buy them. 2019 saw the government create a system of tax breaks that led to a wide-scale take up of EVs amongst business. Now with their price set to fall again this year, some commentators are anticipating a second investment cycle amongst British companies.
However, fears remain that the infrastructure necessary to support the switch over to EVs is still absent from British roads. A recent article published in The Guardian highlighted the “North/South” divide between electric charger provision. The newspaper quoted Mike Hawes of lobby group the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) as saying that banning sales of vans and cars that rely on internal combustion ‘needs more than automotive investment’.
Mr Hawes went on to say that: ‘With clear, equivalent targets and support for operators and local authorities that match consumer needs, government can ensure the UK has a chargepoint network that makes electric mobility a reality for all, cutting emissions, driving growth and supporting consumers across the UK.’
The SMMT highlighted that the majority of the money spent on charging points has been concentrated on London and other wealthy parts of the country.
The Workers Union Says…
For this country to be able to achieve its ambitious net zero emission targets, electric vehicles are a must. Increasing the number of vehicles in circulation will drive innovation in our energy and automotive industries and lead to new job opportunities for working people. At the same time our fume-choked cities will become better places to live and work.
For this to happen we need an approach that makes early adoption attractive to business and consumers. Some of this work has already been done through grants for buyers of electric vehicles, as well as other incentives. From April 2021, for example, businesses have been able to claim EVs at a 100 percent First Year Allowance rate, which essentially means that fleet managers can claim 100 percent of the value of the vehicle by deducting it from pre-tax profits. In the same way, ‘Benefit in Kind’ taxes on employees who also use their company car for work are reduced for drivers of EVs.
That notwithstanding, we need to see more money going into making the necessary infrastructure available to support the emergence of the green economy. There are many good reasons why we should do so, but they cannot be allowed to become trapped in procedural arguments or kicked down the road to appease vested interests. A revolution by stealth will burn the rope to its end: now is the time to push for transition and put our nation on the road to a sustainable future.