Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: July 4, 2024
Electromobility at the urns: key candidates and their plans in the UK’s Parliamentary elections
By Lucía Colaluce
United Kingdom
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Electromobility at the urns: key candidates and their plans in the UK’s Parliamentary elections

Among politicians Ed Davey, John Swinney, Keir Starmer, Nigel Farage, and Rishi Sunak, the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will emerge. Who are they and what do they propose regarding electromobility?
uk elections electromobility

In the upcoming United Kingdom (UK) parliamentary elections, scheduled for today, 4 July, not only the composition of Parliament will be decided but also who will occupy the position of Prime Minister.

This crucial event will not only set the political direction of the country but will also have a significant impact on key sectors such as electromobility.

Currently, the UK is one of the most developed regions in Europe in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), reporting 133,062 units registered from January to May this year, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).

Below are the various proposals and approaches of the different candidates, compiled by Mobility Portal Europe.

Ed Davey

Ed Davey, Liberal Democrats’ candidate.

The British politician currently serves as the leader of the Liberal Democrats since 2020 in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

The party presents an integrated stance on electromobility, climate change, and energy in its manifesto, emphasizing the urgency of addressing the climate crisis and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

They propose achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2045, with measures such as the electrification of transport, including the mandate that all new vehicles have zero emissions from 2030.

Additionally, this includes continuing the UK’s commitment to the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions by at least 68 percent from 1990 levels by 2030.

They also plan to invest in renewable energy so that 90 percent of the country’s electricity comes from renewable sources by the same year.

Their approach also includes reforms in energy policy and the creation of a regulatory framework that favours the transition to a low-carbon economy while aiming to lead internationally in the fight against climate change and promote sustainability at all levels of government and society.

John Swinney

John Swinney, Scottish National Party Leader.

Currently, he serves as the First Minister of Scotland, and his party, the Scottish National Party, is the third most important party in the House of Commons with 43 MPs after the dissolution of the House of Commons in 2024.

Notably, for these elections, the Scottish politician seeks to achieve Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom, partly to boost its economy and partly to have the possibility of rejoining the European Union.

This is important because, at a national level, regarding electromobility, they would remove VAT from on-street EV charging.

Additionally, with full powers, they promise to make changes to the electricity grid system that currently limits the development of renewable energy in the nation, including reducing fees for Scottish producers who wish to connect.

Keir Starmer 

Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party.

Keir Starmer is the leader of the Labour Party and the favourite candidate for the position of Prime Minister: polls predict a landslide victory for his party this time.

Starmer’s party commits to transforming the British electricity system towards one free of carbon emissions, ensuring sustainably lower bills for families and businesses.

To achieve this clean energy transition, the fraction would collaborate with the private sector to significantly expand onshore wind, solar, and offshore wind energy.

Finally, they would reform the institutional framework to reflect their commitment to net zero emissions and ensure that the UK’s financial institutions play a crucial role in mobilizing capital towards sustainable investments, positioning the country as a global leader in green finance.

However, it is noteworthy that in his manifesto and recent statements, Starmer has omitted electromobility, creating uncertainty in the sector.

Therefore, there is no mention of electromobility in the section on “Labour’s First Steps to Change.”

Nigel Farage 

Nigel Farage, Reform UK’s candidate.

Leader and founder of the Reform UK party, Nigel Farage is a candidate in the 2024 general elections.

He is a former commodities broker in the City of London and an ex-MEP for the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group, which he chaired.

The right-wing party’s stance on the decarbonization of transport is considerably radical.

Under the slogan “Stop the War on Drivers,” Farage’s faction seeks to legislate to ban ULEZ Clean Air Zones and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

They also aim to scrap the net zero target, meaning there would be no more bans on petrol and diesel cars or legal requirements for manufacturers to sell electric cars exclusively.

Should Reform UK win the majority of seats, the outlook for electric vehicles is highly negative.

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak, leader of the Conservative Party and actual Prime Minister.

As the current leader of the Conservative Party, Sunak holds the position of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, following Liz Truss‘s resignation seven weeks after her appointment.

He seeks a second term, although pollsters indicate a potential defeat.

In their 2024 document, the party states that if elected, they will support people in choosing electric cars by ensuring a truly nationwide charging infrastructure, including rapid charging.

Additionally, they promise to comply with the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate to support manufacturers and safeguard skilled British jobs.

The party describes the UK automotive industry as “the jewel of their manufacturing crown,” noting that last year, the region built over a million vehicles and secured 23.7 billion pounds in private and public investments.

Notably, the current government secured a 4 billion pound investment in a new battery gigafactory to be built in Somerset, ensuring the future of the Jaguar Land Rover plant in the West Midlands for decades.

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