CDL 2024

Senior carmaker execs hit out at government’s EV approach amid ‘frustrating’ Budget

  • Our manufacturer panel criticises government approach to electrification
  • Representatives from BYD, Nio and Stellantis all call for more clarity
  • Yesterday’s Budget also gets negative reaction on stage at Car Dealer Live 2024

Time 1:37 pm, March 7, 2024

A panel of carmakers has hit out at the government for a lack of support when it comes to electrification, amid a ‘frustrating’ Budget for the EV sector.

Representatives from BYD, Nio and Stellantis were all present on stage at our Car Dealer Live conference in Gaydon this afternoon (Mar 7).

All three were critical of the government’s approach to electrification and called for more clarity.

The trio, who comprised our manufacturer panel, were also vocal in calling for additional policies to help investment in the UK’s much-criticised EV infrastructure.

The comments come just a day after chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the latest Budget – which included no additional support for EV buyers.

Among those to speak out was Nio UK managing director Matt Galvin, who said a likely new government at the next election could offer a sea change.

He told host James Batchelor: ‘I was told never to talk politics at dinner – or on stage – but obviously the Budget is frustrating.

‘We wanted more support but was I expecting it? Probably not. I didn’t think anything would come out of it and nothing did.

‘With a new government that is going to come in I think, they’re probably going to have some points to prove and hopefully they’ll bring some good news for the EV industry.’

The uncertain nature of the 2035 ban was also brought up, as a poll of attendees said they expected the date to be pushed back again.

Mark Blundell, UK marketing manager at BYD UK, added: ‘It’s a tricky one. I think we just need consistency.

‘They need to have a deadline and stick to it. It’s not easy in my experience with Stellantis, being in an environment when you’re trying to pivot from ICE to BEV.

‘You need to know what the landscape is ahead of you. Those years will go by in a flash so I hope it happens.

‘We’re fairly relaxed from a BYD perspective. It will happen and it needs to happen if anything is to trigger the investment in the infrastructure.’

Nicola Dobson, director of used vehicle operations at Stellantis, said: ‘Objectives are there for a reason and we fully support the objectives in terms of the 2035 ban, but I just think we need a bit more support in that as well.

‘Manufacturers can produce the vehicles to meet the [ZEV mandate] requirements but we also need additional support from government and infrastructure providers.

‘They need targets to put that infrastructure in place to build that demand. We can build the vehicles but we need incentives.

‘We need the VAT to be made fair across private households and public charging and if these things come in then I think it will be an easier route to get there [2035], for sure.

‘Will it happen on that date? I don’t know but I think it will happen at some point.’

You can keep up to date with everything going on at Car Dealer Live 2024 by following our live blog from the auditorium.

Earlier today, Peter Vardy told the event at the British Motor Museum how cheap Chinese EVs and plummeting margins influenced his change in business model.

You can watch all the sessions from Car Dealer Live, which is headline-partnered by Auto Trader, as they happen by purchasing a streaming ticket now.

Alternatively, you can buy tickets to watch back the full event from tomorrow (Mar 8).

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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