Labour pledges support for mass EV uptake with introduction of interest-free car loans

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Author: | Updated: 24 Sep 2019 16:00

Labour has announced a series of incentives and proposals to increase the uptake of electric vehicles at its party conference.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey has pledged that a Labour government will invest nearly £6bn in the automotive industry to kickstart the shift to EVs, announcing plans to provide interest-free state loans worth up to £33,000 during its first parliamentary term for 2.5m people to buy electric cars.

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This would go hand-in-hand with a new scrappage scheme aimed at getting 400,000 of the most polluting cars off the roads, with other investments made in the setting up of battery factories and metal reprocessing plants which would be 51% state-controlled. These would be based in Stoke, Croydon and South Wales, bringing thousands of jobs to these areas.

Labour also set 2025 as the date for business car fleets to go all-electric, proposing the mass installation of charging stations in workplaces and depots as well as the removal of the £320 Vehicle Excise Duty surcharge on electric vehicles purchased for private fleet use.

More radical still is Labour’s plan to make £3bn in equity finance available to car manufacturers to bring new electric car models to market, in return for a stake in their business.

Ms Long-Bailey stated:  "The sector is under siege from Brexit uncertainty and the government's lack of ambition on electrification […] Labour's support package will offer a lifeline for a new clean era of manufacturing."

Industry reactions:

British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA) chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “We need to remove some of the uncertainties that are currently stifling progress. The fleet sector needs some long-term clarity on future company car tax rates for electric vehicles. We would also like to see continued support for the Plug-in Car Grant to at least 2025.

Keaney continued: “Although the proposed scrappage scheme is a positive step forward to encourage people to switch to electric vehicles, we would suggest investment in mobility credits which are a more sustainable solution in the long run.”

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