Science and innovation minister Lord Drayson claims a successful car industry is essential for the economic prosperity of the UK.
Speaking at the Low Carbon Vehicle event at Millbrook, Drayson said attitudes to low carbon cars had drastically changed since the global financial crisis and large-scale investment is needed for the UK to become a world leader in the technology.
“The switch to low-carbon is our opportunity in the UK to use the tremendous expertise we still have in our automotive science and engineering base to create a new generation of low carbon cars that global consumers are desperate to buy,” said Drayson.
“If we come up with the answers in the UK faster than the competition – and implement them with real drive – we will recapture some of the market share we have lost.
“This is our opportunity and we must grab it. The government is not here to bail out the past, but to create and capture the future. Our priority is to make the UK the world’s leading ultra low carbon car industry.”
Drayson said there was no appetite in the UK for “strange looking and poor performing” cars, whether they were environmentally friendly or not.
“People want performance and efficiency,” he said. “Sexy looking cars that go like stink and are kind to the environment.
“For this to work, we must present consumers with vehicles that have a wow factor, not just underpowered city cars whose handling leaves many people cold.”
Drayson also dismissed “cynical manipulation” of emissions regulations by manufactures in rebranding low emission city cars alongside more high-powered luxury cars.