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Car makers warn UK must ‘step up to compete’ in electric vehicle production

The UK’s ability to compete internationally in electric vehicle (EV) production is at risk, an automotive industry body has claimed.

Urgent action is needed by the Government to respond to “fierce competition” from other countries, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

Cutting energy costs, speeding up funding for green technology projects and expanding free trade agreements are among the measures included in an SMMT blueprint setting out how to encourage EV production.

The Green Automotive Transformation Strategy also calls for more generous subsidies and reducing red tape for proposed battery-production schemes.

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The SMMT claimed its plan would position the UK as one of the world’s most competitive locations for advanced automotive manufacturing.

It stressed the need to respond to the Inflation Reduction Act in the US and the Green Deal Industrial Plan in the European Union, which both featured steps to boost EV production.

Fully electric or hybrid vehicles comprised almost a third of all UK-built cars last year, with an export value of £10 billion.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Britain boasts a firm foundation of EV production, backed by low-carbon energy, outstanding R&D (research and development) and a highly skilled and productive workforce.

“We must not squander these advantages. With other parts of the world turbocharging their support for the zero emission vehicle transition, we need to step up to compete in this global race.

“Every part of the country has a stake in the switch and with fast, decisive action we can deliver for Britain the growth, jobs and green prosperity this country deserves.”

Sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the UK will be banned from 2030.