MPs form group to raise profile of electric and driverless vehicle agenda
A new cross-party group of politicians has been set up to to raise awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of electric and driverless vehicles.
The group will discuss the charging infrastructure rollout, alongside the opportunities for high-value manufacturing, international trade, emission reduction and road safety improvement.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Electric and Autonomous Vehicles will be chaired by Conservative MP and former Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan, who stressed the need to keep MPs and Lords informed in order to drive the agenda forwards.
She said: “It is imperative that parliamentarians are aware of the rapid pace of change in the electric and automated vehicle sectors and that post-Brexit the UK is well positioned to benefit from these new technologies.
“Clearly at hand are new opportunities to expand our manufacturing base, create new exportable expertise, decarbonise our economy, improve safety, and increase productivity.
"We can’t let this major industrial shift pass us by while everybody is focused on EU negotiations.”
The group’s vice-chairs include former coalition Government Transport Minister Baroness Kramer and Anna McMorrin MP, a member of the Environmental Audit Committee.
Other members include former Energy Secretary Sir Ed Davey, Mark Pawsey MP, a member of the BEIS Committee, and Nigel Evans MP, a member of the International Trade Committee
The APPG’s secretariat, Matthew Trevaskis, head of electric vehicles at the Renewable Energy Association (REA), said he looked forward to working with the group to accelerate the agenda in the UK.
“This historic industrial shift is creating major new opportunities to decarbonise our transport sector, improve air quality, and reduce consumer bills,” he said.
The group has been established amid reports of record EV sales and after a host of commitments from top car makers including VW, BMW, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover, all of which aim to invest heavily into battery and EV research and manufacturing.
Just last month, Ford announced it is going "all in" on the EV market with an $11bn plan to rollout 40 new vehicles. This came before Nissan revealed that its vehicle-to-grid (V2G) demonstrator project will target 1000 installations over the next three years.
The Government has vowed to invest £500m over 10 years to 2023 to industrialise new low-carbon automotive technologies in the UK.
Through the Faraday Battery Challenge, the Government is investing £246m to make the UK a “world leader” in the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). Earlier this year, plans to build a new battery facility for EVs in Warwickshire were backed by £80m in funding.