No-deal Brexit threatens UK EV growth, carmakers warned

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, cars sold in the UK will not count towards EU CO2 targets, meaning carmakers will prioritise building and supplying electric vehicles (EVs) to the European market, campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E) has warned.

T & E analysed data from industry source IHS Markit and found there will be 214 electric models on the European market in 2021 – up from the 60 available at the end of 2018, which will be ‘more than enough’ for manufacturers comply with the EU car CO2 target of 95g/km.

However, while the UK government consulted on proposals to introduce a car CO2 scheme in 2018, it has not yet released the text of the proposed new UK rules.

With the new EU regulations due to start from 1 January 2020, T&E says there is ‘almost no time’ to implement an equivalent UK scheme that requires parliament approval if the UK exits the EU on October 31.

T&E’s UK director, Greg Archer, said: ‘If the UK leaves the EU with no deal it will no longer be part of these rules and the cars sold in the UK won’t count towards meeting the carmakers’ targets. As a result, electric cars simply won’t be made available in large numbers in the UK, slowing progress in the shift to zero-emissions cars here.’

A no-deal Brexit would also have a knock-on effect of further shifting EV production effect away from the UK, T&E has warned, with current production forecasts showing that EV manufacturing will be strongest on the continent.

16 large-scale lithium-ion battery cell plants are confirmed or likely to come online in Europe by 2023 though none are in the UK. However, the UK carmaker sector was given a boost earlier this summer when Jaguar Land Rover announced they will build electric vehicles (EVs) at its manufacturing plant in Castle Bromwich, securing 2,700 jobs.

According to IHS Markit data, planned production of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid cars manufactured in the UK by 2025 is 355,000 units. In France, this is 785,000 and in Germany, it’s over 1.5 million.

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