Bright Blue, a UK think tank promoting liberal conservatism, has published a new report, Driving uptake: maturing the market for battery electric vehicles, which proposes a mixture of new fiscal and regulatory policies to mature the market for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), both new and used.

The report unearths and explains the key barriers to maturing the BEV market in the UK, before assessing the types of policy interventions that have been and could be implemented to catalyse the UK market, drawing on international examples.

The report calls for the UK Government to focus on increasing the uptake of both new and used BEVs, since those from less well-off households are more likely to purchase vehicles from the second-hand market.

Commenting Patrick Hall, Senior Researcher of Bright Blue and co-author of the report said: “The common characteristics of an electric vehicle owner include being affluent, well-educated, middle-aged and male. It is important that less well-off households are not left behind in the electric transition, and as such, policies to bolster the second hand market are critical. Focussing on the used market for battery electric vehicles will achieve both better progressive and environmental outcomes.”

Bright Blue’s main fiscal policy recommendations include:

  • Front-load the value of the Plug-in Car Grant so it equals £5,000, increased from £3,000, from April 2021 and then gradually reduce its value in regular intervals before being phased out completely from October 2023.
  • Establish a Used Vehicle Plug-in Car Grant of at least £2,000 to support low income people into BEV ownership.
  • Enable enhanced capital allowances for businesses which purchase zero emission vehicles for the purpose of renting and leasing them.

Bright Blue’s main regulatory policy recommendations include:

  • Introduce a mandate immediately stating that all new vehicle purchases for the public fleet (central and local government) must be BEVs.
  • Introduce an obligation on all local authorities to install on-street electric vehicle chargepoints within three months when requested by residents unless there are reasonable grounds for objecting, facilitated by an online system established and administered by the local authority.
  • Make interoperability a condition for central and local government funding towards chargepoints.
  • Require all petrol stations above a certain size to have at least three rapid chargepoints by 2023, funded in part by the petroleum company that ultimately owns a petrol station and in part by government
  • Make the inclusion of estimated lifetime costs mandatory for all used as well as new vehicle sales alongside the retail upfront price