Call for creation of ministerial position to help boost electric vehicle sales

Ford has called for the creation of a “minister for electrification” in the UK to help boost electric car take-up, as research suggests widespread confusion around the vehicles persist.

According to a survey commissioned by the car maker of 2,000 people, almost half (46%) of Britons said they do not intend to buy an electric vehicle in the future.

The reasons for hesitance range from anxiety among a third of respondents, while over half cited apparent lack of affordability (53%) and worries about where to charge (51%).

Lack of understanding about how the technology works appears to also be a factor, with only two-thirds (64%) able to correctly identify that an electric car is a vehicle that has one or more electric motors.

Andy Barratt, managing director at Ford of Britain, said a senior role in Government should be made to deal with the country’s electrification strategy, alongside local government, energy providers and vehicle manufacturers.

“While the move to electrification is gathering pace, there’s no mistaking that this is a huge task ahead of us that will require fundamental efforts to ensure consumers are taken on the journey, and the first step is understanding what their options are,” he said.

“Given the size and scale of what we want to achieve in the UK, we need to kick-start this process.

“A fast start could include the creation of a specific senior role in Government to help coordinate a comprehensive electrification strategy for the UK – a ‘minister for electrification’ who can work cross-functionally across Government and with the various stakeholders.”

A fifth (21%) of people said they will likely not consider an electric vehicle for the next five years, while a further fifth (20%) said they will likely only purchase in the next thee to five years.

Electric car charging
Where to charge their car put off some motorists (PA)

Ford resumes its education roadshow Go Electric this week, which aims to demystify the questions people have about switching to electrified vehicles.

Randolph Brazier, head of innovation at Energy Networks Association, the trade body which represents energy network operators like National Grid and SSE, said: “We agree electrification is a priority, especially as the number of electric vehicles on the road increases day by day.

“Making sure rapid charging infrastructure is visibly deployed right across the UK will be critical to the smooth rollout of electric vehicles and boosting consumer confidence.

“To make this happen we need Government and the regulator to pull down existing barriers and put the right frameworks in place and help to unlock investment.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We have delivered a world-leading package to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles, including a £2.5bn programme to support grants for plug in vehicles and funding for chargepoint infrastructure in homes, workplaces and across the wider roads network.

“We are committed to looking at new ways to work with industry to reduce carbon emissions and boost economic growth in the UK. That includes supporting the transition to zero emission vehicles alongside our consultation on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans.”

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