Labour will “jumpstart the electric car revolution” by funding a massive charging station rollout and offering interest-free loans for plug-in vehicles to encourage uptake.
In a bid to see more than 21 million electric vehicles on the UK’s roads by 2030, Labour will invest £3.6 billion into a “mammoth” rollout of ultra-fast and rapid charge points, targeting motorways and urban areas. Labour’s proposed state-owned electricity grid would oversee the mooted charging station rollout.
The government has committed to banning the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. Labour wants to see EVs account for 65% of all vehicles on the UK’s roads a decade before that.
Labour’s plans would double the number of EVs on the road by the end of the decade, compared to the Conservative Party’s timeline, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour's Shadow Business Secretary, said.
Labour said a more expansive public charging network would combat range anxiety and encourage consumer uptake of EVs.
Sales of EVs have lagged at around 1% of the new car market, with more than 80% of motorists saying lack of access to charging stations as the main obstacle to them purchasing an electric vehicle, according to research from motoring association AA.
"We will roll out electric vehicle charging infrastructure to every city, town and village, and along our motorways. Under Labour, nobody buying an electric car needs to worry about running out of fuel,” Ms Long-Bailey said.
To further encourage uptake, a Labour government would also offer consumers 2.5 million interest-free loans to fund the purchase of EVs.
The loans, of up to £33,000, will allow low-income households, those living in rural areas, and independent contractors to fund the purchase of new electric vehicles. The government would cover the £1,500 cost of interest on the loan, for savings of up to £5,000 per individual.
Vehicles purchased through the scheme would be required to participate in a mass trial of Vehicle-2-Grid technology. The plan recruits EVs as batteries, to store excess energy from the grid, increasing the usability of intermittent renewable energy sources.
Labour also expects the loans to boost the British automobile industry.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: “This is beneficial in terms of the climate; it is beneficial for those people who want to convert their carbon-fuel powered car into an electric vehicle that is sustainable. At same time it will help support the automotive industry and create jobs.”
Motorists could also help fund the purchase of an EV by earning up to £2,000 through a scrappage scheme for fossil fuel cars over 20 years old.
The party would also set up publicly-owned community car-sharing clubs to put an additional 30,000 electric vehicles on the road, for motorists who don’t need their own vehicles.
Labour’s EV plans would create 3,000 new jobs for electricians and engineers. It would also help to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and cut air pollution, Ms Long-Bailey said.
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