The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) have spoken out that government needs to play a more active role and actively support the change towards sustainable transport.
“Businesses and consumers must receive adequate support from the Government during this crucial transition to a zero-emission market”, said Sue Robinson, Director of the NFDA, which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK.
In its response to the consultation on ending the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans, NFDA has highlighted dealers’ concerns and provided the Government with detailed recommendations to ensure that the transition to zero-emission vehicles can be sustained.
The Government has proposed that the original 2040 date be brought forward to 2035 or perhaps earlier, yet no clear strategy has been defined.
NFDA pointed out that the market for zero-emission vehicles is still in its infancy and should we pursue an earlier phase-out date than 2040, this must be accompanied by a significant boost to the incentives on offer to consumers, retailers and manufacturers.
NFDA’s recommendations covered:
- The Role of Hybrids
The Government must not undermine today’s hybrids by banning their sale in 2035. NFDA urges the Government to reconsider the benefits of plug-in hybrids vehicles, both to the motor industry, as it recovers from lockdown and the general public who may use them as a transitionary technology to familiarise themselves with plug-in driving.
- Stimulate Consumer Demand
The current range of Government-led purchase incentives has so far been effective in stimulating demand for ultra-low emission vehicles. However, if this demand is to be boosted even further, the Government must continue to incentivise consumers.
- EV Charging Infrastructure
Currently, retailers looking to install a higher-powered chargepoint may find that they incur large fees to upgrade local power capacity – businesses must be supported. Equally, the Government should seek to simplify the consumer charging experience, which will in turn help reduce barriers for electrified driving.
Sue Robinson, concluded, “Franchised retailers have made huge strides in recent years to rise to the challenge of improving consumers’ perception and encourage the uptake of zero-emission vehicles, with significant investments into site upgrades, online information and staff training. However, the electric vehicle market is still in its infancy and there remain significant barriers to the development of the sector.
“As a result, we urge the Government to remove plug-in hybrids from the 2035 phase-out date as they represent a natural and ideal transition to zero-emission vehicles, especially for those who cannot yet afford a battery electric vehicle.
“The Government must continue to support businesses and consumers through well-targeted measures such as tax incentives and keeping the plug-in car and van grants at their current level. “NFDA has regularly engaged with the Government on this issue and, following our response, we will continue to liaise with the relevant departments to best represent our members’ views”.