Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark has called on the UK government and regulators to make clearer, more decisive pronouncements if they want car buyers to switch to electrified vehicles.
Speaking at the FT Future of the Car summit, Hallmark highlighted that the most significant growth for diesel in the past was directly related to the government introducing tax incentives to encourage people to take up the lower-CO2 fuel option.
“Diesel was presented as a solution 15-20 years ago and the incentives gave a clear, simple economic advantage,” said Hallmark. “Most importantly, that was a decisive action - and there has to be one if we want people in battery-electric vehicles. We’ve got to mandate and put electric cars at the heart of the system.”
The UK Government offers a £3500 grant for vehicles that emit less than 50g/km of CO2 and have a zero emission range of at least 70 miles. There is an £8000 grant for similar commercial vans, with a £500 grant available against the cost of installing an authorised home charging unit.
But Hallmark believes the incentives need to be far more wide ranging to drive EV take-up in the UK.
“In other countries charge points are standardised, there are smart charging solutions, every new-build house has a charge point on it - they are looking to incentivise and integrate,” said Hallmark. “Here, unless you are a Tesla customer, and have a wallbox at home, you face potential complications to your life to get the car charged.
“To be seamless requires a more concerted effort.”
Bentley launched a plug-in hybrid version of its Bentley Bentayga last year, and the firm’s head of engineering, Werner Tietz, recently told Autocar that the firm was investigating hydrogen fuel cell technology as a potential alternative to battery-electric models in the future.