Peugeot joins band of carmakers calling on government to help customers make switch to new EVs

  • More ‘measures’ are needed to help buyers, says Peugeot UK boss
  • Incentives and VAT equalisation on charging would help, says firm
  • Peugeot is doing its part but wants more from government

Time 8:50 am, May 10, 2024

Peugeot has joined a growing band of carmakers calling for more government assistance in helping new car customers make the switch to electric.

Speaking to Car Dealer, Peugeot’s UK boss Adam Wood said he’d like to see more ‘measures’ to make the switch ‘easier’, which include tax incentives for private buyers and VAT equalisation between home and public charging.

‘It’s fair to say that the natural level of market demand at the moment is not necessary right at that 22% level,’ he said.

‘We’re doing our part – we’ve got some really strong incentives in place, including 0% finance [on EVs] over for four years and up to £6,500 “Switch Grant”. It means that on the majority of our products, customers can go into electric motoring for no more than £20 a month more compared to the ICE equivalent. We must not forget that people do buy on PCP and lease.

‘Having said that,’ he added, ‘would I like to see more incentives, particularly for private buyers in the UK? Absolutely. The tax incentives are there for the fleet sector and that’s why you are seeing the growth. We don’t see the same in the private sector and we need it.’

He continued: ‘Customers are also concerned about the speed of charging infrastructure, and we would also welcome the equalisation of VAT between home and public charging. Doing this would give a signal of confidence, and if we work together [with the government] then we can get there.’

This week the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) published its monthly new car registrations data, and while the number of electric cars registered rose by 10.7% in April and pushed market share for BEVs (battery electric vehicles) to 16.9%, the car industry feels more needs to be done to enthuse private buyers.

The SMMT reported that the growth in EV registrations for at least the past two months has been entirely driven by fleets.

Commenting on April’s new car registrations data, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the lack of government incentives for private buyers is having ‘a marked effect’.

‘Although attractive deals on EVs are in place, manufacturers cannot fund the mass market transition single-handedly,’ he said. ‘Temporarily cutting VAT, treating EVs as fiscally mainstream not luxury vehicles, and taking steps to instil consumer confidence in the chargepoint network will drive the market growth on which Britain’s net zero ambition depends.’

Asked whether Peugeot has any concerns it will hit the 22% EV quota needed to meet the ZEV mandate, Wood said: ‘We are tuned in and absolutely committed to our electric roadmap – we will have an electric version of every model by 2025, and we will be 100% electric by 2030.

‘Our new E-3008 has generated in excess of 30% of orders for the 3008 range, so as our product range expands I really do think we have what it takes to embrace the mandate.’

Wood’s words came just a week after parent company Stellantis’s boss, Carlos Tavares, said the ZEV mandate is ‘terrible for the UK’ and that he would not sell cars at a loss.

The Stellantis chief has called for passenger car and LCV figures to be combined to help reach the mandate’s 22% quota – something Wood also echoed.

When asked if he was hopeful a potential change in government later this year might offer the support Peugeot and other carmakers are calling for, Wood said: ‘What’s clear is we have a zero-emission vehicle mandate, and the roadmap for that is very clear – and it’s a medium term objective.

‘So, we’re very much committed to that irrespective of whatever government is in place in the UK. We’re certainly doing our part with the level of investment – we’re bringing 13 electric vehicles to market this year.

‘But, as I said, I would welcome measures that make that switch to electric easy for customers, particularly in the private sector.’

Peugeot’s sister firm – in the Stellantis empire of car brands – Fiat has also called for incentives such as the return of the plug-in car grant last February, while last month it slammed the government’s refusal to action a range of proposals designed to supercharge electric car sales outlined in a report from the House of Lords.

Other carmakers, along with Auto Trader and E.ON, signed an open letter ahead of the chancellor’s March budget calling for a fairer VAT system for public charging. However, the Budget included no word on any assistance in this area, instead the government confirmed fuel duty would once again be frozen.

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. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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