Members of the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee have many and varied backgrounds: as well as career politicians, there’s a barrister, someone who sailed with the merchant navy, people who ran estates and farms or worked mines or sat on the board of an electrical company.
But can any of them operate a calculator? I ask because they’ve called the government’s Road to Zero plan, which will require all cars sold in the UK by 2040 to have a worthwhile electric range, “vague and unambitious”. Plus, they’ve suggested – in that ‘zero-means-zero’ way that’s so popular these days – that all cars sold in the UK should be all-electric by 2032. They’d like to be a bit more serious about vans and lorries too.
Which is certainly ambitious, because the government is currently canning incentives to buy part-electric vehicles, while the infrastructure to provide electric power has been left to local authorities and private businesses.
As the BEIS Committee notes, in a release that contains some noble intentions, these things seem at odds with government hopes that EVs will enter mass roll-out. It thinks incentives should be kept or introduced to make EVs the same price as comparative internally combusted alternatives. Which sounds laudable, if expensive.