The government doesn’t have a “clear plan” to match its strategy to phase out petrol and diesel cars, according to a report by the Public Accounts Committee.
As part of its net-zero strategy to tackle climate change, sales of new petrol and diesel cars will end in 2030. All new cars will be zero-emission at the tailpipe (the rear section of the exhaust pipe), from 2035.
But replacing them with electric vehicles will be a “huge challenge”, the House of Commons Committee has said.
Meanwhile, there remains a postcode lottery in terms of the existing spread of electric vehicle charge points, according to a study shared with Sky News by the campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E).
It says London has the most extensive network, with areas such as Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Wandsworth already having sufficient numbers of chargers to meet the charging needs from electric cars projected to be on the road by 2025.
But the east and southwest of England currently have only 18% of the chargers estimated to be needed by 2025, T&E’s study shows.
The worst performing local authority areas – including the Forest of Dean, Stockport, Swindon, Brentwood and Fenland – currently have less than 5% of the charging facilities needed by 2025.
T&E, which campaigns on the environmental impact of transport, has said there are currently enough charge points for the amount of EVs on the road but they are not evenly distributed.
It also said the crunch point will be 2025 when the number of charge points will need to be ramped up quickly to reflect the number of electric vehicles it’s anticipated will be being driven.
Listen and follow ClimateCast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Spreaker
Greg Archer, UK director of T&E, said: “The electric vehicle charging network is much better than people perceive but the coverage is not equal across the UK and that’s what we need to tackle to ensure we have a good charging network across the UK.
“Local authorities like Westminster have invested heavily but we need to make sure every local authority is making the same commitment. On the whole, the places which have air pollution problems have invested early in good charging networks to encourage drivers to drive electric vehicles. “
T&E said it has calculated that if charging points are installed at the speed of the last year by 2025 there should be enough charge points for the number of electric cars on the road.
Two-thirds of cars are parked off-street and won’t need to use public charge points, and most people will only need to charge their cars once a week.
“We think the government should legislate and regulate that car parks install charging points so they’re available to people when they need them,” Mr Archer added.
Just under 11% of new car registrations were ultra-low emission in 2020 – up from 3% in 2019.
Meg Hillier MP, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said the government still has a “mountain to climb” to reach its target in the next 14 years.
“Once again what we’ve got is a government throwing up a few signs around base camp and no let-up in demand for oversized, petrol- guzzling vehicles,” she said.
Sky News has launched the first daily prime time news show dedicated to climate change.
The Daily Climate Show is broadcast at 6.30pm and 9.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.
Hosted by Anna Jones, it follows Sky News correspondents as they investigate how global warming is changing our landscape and how we all live our lives.