Skip to main content

Electric Vehicles

Volume 528: debated on Thursday 19 May 2011

9. What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on any fiscal incentives to support achievement of the Committee on Climate Change’s target number of electric vehicles in 2020. (56260)

Fiscal incentives are a matter for the Treasury, but DECC has a strong interest in encouraging the take-up of electric vehicles. We work closely with the Department for Transport, which has lead responsibility for the policy, but we regularly meet companies leading the development and deployment of cutting-edge low-carbon vehicle technologies.

Electric cars will play an important part in reducing carbon emissions, they are an important part of green growth, and they can reduce the costs of motoring for our constituents. The Committee on Climate Change has called for 1.7 million electric cars by 2020—quite a lot fewer than Japan and Israel. How does my hon. Friend see us meeting that target?

My hon. Friend is a powerful advocate for this agenda and speaks with considerable authority. He will know that in the last comprehensive spending review we announced over £400 million of measures to promote the take-up of ultra low-carbon vehicles, in addition to exempting them from road tax, company car tax and the congestion charge, and now we have a consumer grant of up to £5,000 per vehicle and a £30 million investment in infrastructure. Then, on top of that, later this summer, in line with the coalition agreement commitment to mandate a national recharging network, we will be publishing a strategy for promoting the roll-out of charging infrastructure.

I will resist the temptation to ask whether it is easier to stay within the speed limit in an electric car. Instead, I will ask what is the best way to make electric cars more efficient in their use of energy given that the electricity still has to be generated and that we still rely on burning fossil fuels for much of our energy.

Ultimately, it will be the decarbonisation of the energy sector that will ensure that electric cars become genuinely low or zero-carbon vehicles. With the publication of the fourth carbon budget, we now have the long-term trajectory in place to ensure that we reach our ambitious decarbonisation goals.