Decarbonising transport: what's around the corner for the car industry?

The Department for Transport has recently published a document setting out how the government intends to develop a transport decarbonisation plan.

The document, 'Decarbonising transport: setting the challenge', summarises the challenges that the government believes need to be met in order to reduce transport emissions and ensure that it reaches its goal of net zero transport emissions by 2050.

The document does not set out any specific, new policies.  We will need to wait until publication of the transport decarbonisation plan itself, which is slated for later in 2020, before we see any of those.

That said, the document does give hints about the government's current thinking. Many in the car industry will be pleased to see that there is little suggestion in the document that the government is considering the introduction of any new regulations that might make owning a car more expensive, or banish private vehicles to the suburbs.

Instead, the document appears to suggest that the government will support the car industry in making the transition to designing and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles.  This might involve greater support for research and development to help the industry pilot and demonstrate technologies around batteries and power electronics and drives.

There is also a hint that the government might do more to help the industry increase awareness and purchase consideration of electric vehicles in much the same way as it has looked to do through the current Go Ultra Low advertising campaign.

We will look out for publication of the transport decarbonisation plan later this year to see if any of the support hinted at in the document finds its way into official policy. The suggestion seems to be that the government intends to support the car industry along the low-carbon transport journey.  Let's hope that this intention is not lost on the long and winding policy-making road.


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