Britain’s supply of
electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles could dry up after Brexit as carmakers
would lose a strong incentive to sell low-emission vehicles in the country, a
new report claims.
The UK was the third
largest market for zero emission vehicles in the European Union last year, and
the largest for plug-in hybrids.
But as British sales
of those cars would no longer count towards carmakers’ European Union carbon
dioxide (CO2) emission targets after Brexit, they may choose not to sell them
in the UK at all, according to the analysis by sustainable transport group Transport
& Environment (T&E).
There were currently significant supply constraints in providing
electric vehicles to the European Union market, according to the report and
Brexit could see other European countries being prioritised for deliveries as
selling the cars to member states would count towards achieving their targets
and avoiding fines.
As a result, the UK would also struggle to meet its fourth carbon
budget, which was already at serious risk of being missed due to rising
transport emissions, it is claimed.
The transport group said such an outlook was a blow to the current
government’s vision of a ‘Green Brexit’ and its forthcoming ‘Road to Zero’
strategy that foresees the UK as a leader in the shift to zero emission
It would also endanger the UK’s industrial strategy to become a leading
producer of zero-emission vehicle technology - as carmakers were less likely to
set up electric vehicle production in countries where they had a small market
and less incentive to sell them.
Cécile Toubeau, better trade and regulation director at T&E, said: “The UK’s departure from the European Union
and the single market will mean that Britain will no longer count towards the
overall targets for vehicle CO2 emissions. Carmakers may simply opt to dump their
less efficient models in the UK market.”
The report ‘Brexit & Cars: The Impact of the UK
departure on the European Automotive Sector’ is available at: https://www.transportenvironment.org/sites/te/files/2018_05_Brexit_and_vehicles_report.pdf