Major new SMMT report calls for government to support car industry as it transitions to net zero future

  • New report ‘Full Throttle: Driving UK Automotive Competitiveness’ sets out 12 bold policies
  • Calls for a ‘Build Back Better Fund’, 60GWh of gigafactory capacity and 2.3m charging points by 2030
  • Potential for 40,000 new well-paid jobs

Time 3 months ago

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has today launched an ambitious new plan to drive investment in the car industry, which includes a ‘Build Back Better Fund’, 60GWh of gigafactory capacity and 2.3m charging points by 2030.

Commissioned by SMMT and written by Public First, the strategy, called ‘Full Throttle: Driving UK Automotive Competitiveness’, sets out a series of bold policy proposals up to 2030 to ensure the UK car industry is competitive on a global level.

It calls for a new ‘Build Back Better Fund’ across automotive and other manufacturing sectors to revolutionise production lines and boost areas such as skills to energy costs.

The SMMT says the fund would help the car industry to transition to Net Zero and transform its existing manufacturing and supply-chain.

The report also calls for a binding target of 60 GWh of battery capacity be built by 2030.

The SMMT believes these ‘gigafactories’ would give British manufacturers the capability to produce up to one million electric vehicles a year and ensure tariff free access to critical markets in the EU.

Finally, the report calls for the installation of at least 2.3m charging points nationwide before the end of the decade.

The organisation says this would allow ‘all drivers’ to invest in electric vehicles, especially those without driveways.

The automotive sector is uniquely placed to help this government deliver on its agenda; to level up, deliver net zero and trade globally

Some 40,000 new, well-paid jobs could be created if the UK car industry successfully transitions to a zero emissions future and has ambitious global trading terms, believes the SMMT.

Without the competitive conditions, however, the UK’s automotive industry risks decline, it says.

The SMMT believes that in a worst-case situation, with the sector left stranded, around 90,000 jobs could be lost.

Speaking today at the automotive industry’s annual summit, Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘The next few years represent a critical period for the sector.

‘The pace of technological change is accelerating and the competition more ferocious. If we are to secure vehicle manufacturing in this country, with all the benefits to society that it brings, decisions need to be made today.

‘The automotive sector is uniquely placed to help this government deliver on its agenda; to level up, deliver net zero and trade globally.

‘The government has made clear its support for the sector in its negotiations with Europe, so now is the time to go full throttle and take bold action to support one of Britain’s most important industries.’

‘Full Throttle: Driving UK Automotive Competitiveness’ outlines 12 policy proposals:

Technology & Innovation

1. Commit to creating 60 GWh of battery production within the UK via gigafactories by 2030.

2. Support development of a fuel cell gigafactory with 2GWh capacity to support cars, heavier vehicles and rail units by 2030.

3. Roll out a comprehensive and long-term skills strategy that supports auto needs combined with piloting greater flexibility in the Apprenticeship Levy to support retraining.

4. Commit to the UK becoming a global leader in developing, testing, trialling and deploying Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) technology.

Manufacturing Competitiveness

5. Introduce a new ‘Build Back Better Fund’ to support good manufacturing jobs for the future and help lower manufacturing costs such as energy.

6. Allow net zero critical industries, such as manufacturers of low carbon, hydrogen and battery vehicles, to access the same benefits and compensation schemes as energy intensive industries and get more support within the UK Emission Trading Scheme (ETS).

7. Fund trial and demonstration projects to explore the use of hydrogen during manufacturing.

8. Ensure the UK tax system helps position Britain as an attractive destination for global investment.

Consumer, Market & Trade

9. Develop a holistic infrastructure strategy to ensure that at least 2.3 million public charging points are in place by 2030.

10. Commission an independent review to holistically consider the long-term future of fuel duty and CO2 based taxes like vehicle excise duty in a decarbonised sector.

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11. Continue Plug-in Vehicle Incentives beyond their current term and exempt Ultra Low Emission Vehicles from taxation for the next five years

12. Work with the industry to develop an ambitious, forward looking trade strategy, which targets the sector’s most important markets.

The full report can be read here

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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