So much for not doing anything about the climate change emergency, the UK seems to be lining up legislation on the subject as if it wants to leave outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May some kind of worthwhile legacy. This week the UK government has thrown a £500 million guarantee at Tata owned Jaguar LandRover to make EVs in the UK, and pushed through a law on every new home having an EV charging point.
Given the history of car companies in the UK, the government could one day be asked to honor its loan guarantee, but hopes that won’t be necessary, and sees it, especially in the Brexit hell it finds itself in, as worth every penny to keep a major car manufacturer making cars on its soil.
The biggest concern in the UK right now among politicians is how to help car companies make their existing combustion engine cars with their thousands of moving parts and complicated pan-European logistics regime which relies on multiple factories sending each other work back and forth across the continent, using just in time planning.
But many of those car companies are very late (not in time, as opposed to just in time) coming to the realization that the EV industry is going to be THE car industry by around 2030. This is a genuine case of disruption that has already passed the point of no return – even if the world did not want clean energy, the EV is so superior to the combustion engine that this shift is now going to happen and it just so happens that multiple factories may not be needed spanning Europe – just one might do.
Jaguar LandRover combines two old UK car brands, but is ultimately owned by the multinational Tata Group which is based in India. But you can see why it makes sense to base it in the UK, with so many more cars sold there each year than in India.
Additionally this week the government sponsored a coming together of executives from Aston Martin, BMW, Nissan and Vauxhall as well as energy groups BP, Shell and National Grid, to set up a green mobility transition board – a chance for the industry to influence the EV revolution. But is that the right place to take advice? BP and Shell make petrol and it will be fairly obvious come 2030+ that this is a dead industry. BMW and several other car makers have already shown they are too late to the EV party.
Not sure I want my advice on green transition from fossil fuel companies and half awake car companies. National Grid on the other hand is one of the right partners to be working with.
This group will coordinate plans for a switch from traditional to electric vehicles and funding package is said to include £500 million from UK Export Finance as well as £125 million from commercial lenders.
Whether or not the UK government actually gets legislation through requiring the installation of charge points for EVs in all new housing is a matter for the next Prime Minister however, as this is unlikely to be passed until he is in place, and anyway the government will tend to be busy convincing the EU to change the rules over Brexit. The worrying thought that leading candidate Boris Johnson is advised by a well-known climate change denier, could mean that any such legislation is dispatched with a tweet about global warming not being real. We shall have to see.
Chris Grayling, the current Secretary of State for Transport is quoted in a UK newspaper saying “With record levels of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads, it is clear there is an appetite for cleaner, greener transport… Home charging provides the most convenient and low-cost option for consumers.” Well if Grayling is retained within the government in the same role, perhaps this policy may come to fruition.7