“With the phase-out dates of 2030 and 2035 approaching at pace, it is imperative government greater understands the entire situation from a retailing and industry perspective. The House of Lords Electric Vehicle Call for Evidence presents the opportunity for NFDA to outline the challenges hindering the decarbonisation of private mobility in the UK, the mass adoption of electric vehicles from consumers and why banning new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030 is an ambitious target,” said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents car and commercial retailers across the UK.
On Friday 15 September, the NFDA responded to the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee’s Electric Vehicle Call for Evidence which aims to better understand how the Government will achieve its upcoming 2030 and 2035 deadlines for the phase-out of non-zero emission vehicles and to understand the costs/benefits associated with the 2030 phase-out date.
In preparation for the inquiry, NFDA conducted a survey to its members in August 2023, seeking to better understand dealers’ attitudes and opinions towards the upcoming 2030 and 2035 deadlines. The survey attracted 67 responses, representing over 370 sites across the UK.
Factors Affecting the 2030 Deadline
Historically the cost of an electric vehicle has been seen as the prohibiting factor in reaching the UK’s 2030 target. However, this survey has revealed that the UK’s charging infrastructure is seen as the main barrier to achieving this ambition, with 87% of franchised dealers saying it is affecting the deadline a ‘great deal’.[i]
The cost of an electric vehicle remains high on the priority list with 65% of franchised dealers believing cost is affecting the deadline a great deal[ii] and 51% believing a reduction in fiscal incentives is having an effect.[iii]
When asked ‘To what extent is Media Misinformation making the upcoming 2030 deadline harder to achieve’, 40% stated a great deal, 32% stated a lot and 19% believed a moderate amount.[iv]
83% of franchised dealers believe that the legislation will result in a decrease in profitability and a in sales and 87% expect servicing revenue to decrease.[v]
Franchised dealers have invested heavily in EVs and the lack of stability from government through the removal of incentives like the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) and the introduction of VED for EVs in 2025 has only hindered the uptake of EV adoption and created uncertainty with consumers and the industry. There is a real concern from dealers that EV demand is beginning to plateau with the cost-of-living crisis and household disposable income at its lowest for years, impacting consumer demand for EV products.
There are also clear regional disparities that Government needs to address. Northern Ireland in comparison to the other nations of the United Kingdom, is rapidly falling behind in terms of investment for charging infrastructure. For NI to have a proportional share of public chargepoints, Northern Ireland would need to build approximately 8,000 chargers by 2030, at a rate of over 1,000 chargepoints annually. However, its current installation rate stands at only 2% of what it needs to be to reach the 2030 target, with only a net increase of 21 public chargepoints between January 2022 and January 2023.[vi]
Sue Robinson added: “NFDA member surveys provide a unique snapshot into the attitudes and opinions of the automotive retailing sector, it is, therefore, essential that the Government takes our Call for Evidence response and survey results into consideration when making decisions relating to future decarbonisation legislation.
“The survey addresses some of the key challenges that are impacting the transition to electric from a dealer perspective; Charging infrastructure, attaining price parity between EV and ICE counterparts and the regional disparity in preparation and investment are three crucial areas that NFDA have explored in great detail for Government’s inquiry. With 68% of dealers strongly disagreeing that the Government is doing enough to support dealers[vii], NFDA calls on immediate action to help rectify some of these challenges if we want to achieve deadline targets together.”
NOTES TO EDITORS –
Adam Weeks, NFDA Communications Officer
Direct: 020 7307 3413
Mobile: 0788 003 9897
The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK. There are more than 4,500 franchise outlets in the UK and over 540,000 people working in the automotive retail sector.
We lobby on behalf of our members to ensure the voice of the dealers is heard and we support them with a number of issues that impact automotive retail businesses on a day to day basis. These include retailers’ relationships with their manufacturers, policy and legislation changes, and industry issues in key areas such as used cars, finance and insurance, aftersales and recruitment.
[vi] Data taken from DfT official charging device statistics, January 2023 - https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/electric-vehicle-charging-device-statistics-january-2023/electric-vehicle-charging-device-statistics-january-2023.
[vii] When asked ”To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: The UK Government is doing enough to support the Automotive Industry in its efforts to meet the current 2030 deadline?” - 68% of dealers strongly disagree that the UK Government is doing enough to support the Automotive Industry in its efforts to meet the current 2030 deadline. Graph can be found here