A central feature in the General Election campaign, the release of the Party political manifestos over the last couple of weeks has been a key moment to assess where the various political Parties stand on the issues that matter most to voters.

Whilst not being part of the ‘headline grabbing’ policies of this election campaign, EVs did nonetheless feature in all manifestos to varying extents.

For instance, the three major Labour, Conservative, and Lib Dem parties all committed to further rollout of a national charging infrastructure. Other noteworthy pledges include returning the ZEV Mandate to 2030 from Labour, lowering VAT on public charging from the Lib Dems, and more intensive scrappage schemes to enhance EV uptake from the Greens.

In this race for Number 10, EVA England have scored the main political parties standing in England, based on their EV-focused pledges. The below ranking shows where each Party has come based on their commitment to the sector and its drivers.

A number of key policy points were missed by all political parties. We have covered these below, with a suggested Political Manifesto to address the issues that matter most to drivers.

🏁 Liberal Democrats

The manifesto has the largest number of commitments among all main parties, and more encouragingly a commitment to tackling the major burden of soaring public charging costs by pledging to cut VAT on public charging to 5%.

  • Roll out far more charging points, including residential on-street points and ultra-fast chargers at service stations
  • Cut VAT on public charging to 5%
  • Support new charging points with an upgraded National Grid and a stepchange in local grid capacity
  • Require all charging points to be accessible with a bank card
  • Protect motorists from rip-offs, including unfair insurance

🏁 Green Party

The manifesto does include several key proposals for electric vehicles, including more schemes to help people buy electric cars and moving the ZEV mandate deadline to 2027, an ambitious yet potentially controversial change given the important effects on the sector such a move would incur.

  • Within ten years, replace all petrol and diesel vehicles with EVs. End of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2027, and the use of all petrol and vehicles on the road by 2035
  • Introduce an extensive vehicle scrappage scheme to support a rapid transition to EVs, with funding rising to £5bn per year by the end of the parliament, supported by the rapid rollout of EV charging points
  • More government support for ordinary car users and small businesses to replace their vehicles as diesel and petrol engines are phased out.

🏁 Labour

The manifesto does include commitments for electric vehicles, and unlike the other manifestos, proposes standardising the information around batteries for secondhand electric cars.

  • Tackle soaring costs of car insurance
  • Restore the ZEV mandate phase-out date of 2030
  • Accelerate the rollout of charge points
  • Support buyers of secondhand electric cars by standardising the information supplied on the condition of batteries

🏁 Conservatives

The manifesto does commit to continuing the current Government’s actions but has not proposed any new policies to support the rollout of Electric Vehicles.

  • Deliver the ZEV mandate
  • Ensure charging infrastructure is truly nationwide, including rapid charging
  • Support domestic car manufacturers if there is evidence other countries are breaking global trade rules

🏁 Reform UK

The least amount of commitments among all main party manifestos, and most concerningly a commitment to scrap the ZEV mandate.

  • Scrap bans on selling petrol and diesel cars
  • Scrap legal requirements (ZEV mandate) for manufacturers to sell electric cars

What’s missing?

⚡️ Charging Costs

Whilst encouraging to see the Liberal Democrats commit to tackling VAT on public charging and encourage parity between public and private charging costs, the party manifestos all fall short of addressing an increasing barrier to the affordability of running an EV.

Higher electricity costs unfairly burden EV drivers playing their part in relying more heavily on renewable energy. Social and green levies, historically added onto electricity bills, bring vital funding for sustainability projects – moving these levies onto gas or general taxation would ensure EV drivers no longer play a disproportionate part in this progress.

Despite commitments from all main parties to increase public charging provision, the detail is lacking on how this might be achieved. Availability of charging, and a competitive environment among Charge Point Operators (CPOs) impact charging costs. Yet currently, CPOs are burdened by overly complex planning requirements, posing a major barrier to getting more chargers into the ground at speed. Simplifying these requirements would ensure our charging network grows more efficiently and cheaply, in turn helping bring charging costs down.

⚡️ Expanding charging provision

Expanding the national public charging network is of course a priority as EV numbers continue to grow. However, charging needs are increasingly becoming more complex, meaning a wide breadth of charging options are needed, too. This include home and ‘destination’ charging points to allow drivers to charge reliably overnight, and in their place of work.

With the planned closure of the Workplace Charging Scheme next year, businesses need further support to encourage more workplace charging options nationwide. And as for charging at home, the 8.5m people in the UK’s rental sector are given little incentive to install their own charging points, whilst the growing number of EV drivers without access to a driveway currently have few options to reliably charge privately.

Key innovations such as gullies are being missed as planning systems are once again maladapted to support such important solutions.

⚡️ Insurance costs

Labour has committed to tackling soaring motoring insurance costs, a huge priority for drivers at present. There has been no mention, however, of the particular barrier the poses for the EV sector, which has seen an alarming rise in premiums of up to 20-30% on top of petrol and diesel rates in the past year alone.

The sector is facing a particularly unique set of challenge that need addressing independently: EV repair costs and approximately 25% higher than diesel equivalents, for instance, and reports of repair times for EVs being, on average, 14% longer are symptomatic of a skills shortage in the industry. As the most immediate barrier to EV uptake currently, soaring insurance for EVs in particular need addressing with urgency.

⚡️ Accessibility

A recent inquiry by Vauxhall, the car manufacturer and distributor, has found that just 2.3% of on-street EV chargers are adapted to be accessible for disabled motorists. The Party Manifestos have fallen short in addressing this blatant discrimination rendering the EV experience for disabled drivers inherently more complex and difficult.

The accessibility standards for charging points exist: PAS 1899 standards have been in place since October 2022, yet compliance to these has been woefully slow. A future Government should urgently look towards mandating these requirements for all future charging points.

⚡️ Democratising Access

The growing numbers of EVs on UK roads means the sector is progressively positioning itself at the heart of future British mobility. From a policy perspective, this crucially means a sector that is transitioning from nascent to mainstream must remain fair and equitable in terms of access. EVs are more affordable than they were, however lower income households still remain unable to consistently partake in this exciting sector.

Targeted schemes have been successfully implemented in other countries to tackle this problem – the already oversubscribed social leasing scheme implemented in France this year is a particularly successful model – meaning the political parties in the UK already have the policy tools to hand to assist encourage more prospective EV drivers in this country as well.

Securing the future of EVs: The EV Drivers’ Manifesto

Just over a month ago, we launched EVA England’s EV Drivers’ Manifesto 2024, defined by and for EV drivers themselves and aimed to highlight the key policies our next Government should focus on to support drivers’ needs, and the sector as a whole.

Comparatively to the Party Political Manifestos above, the EV Driver’s Manifesto is our attempt to provide the full picture of what the sector needs to truly drive sustainable mobility in a way that truly delivers for all.

During this General Election, we want to empower our members to be EV champions in their communities and raise the key issues to candidates that matter most to you.

Our EV Campaigner’s Pack is available for our memebers and contains essential tips on how to engage with local candidates during this election campaign. Following the release of the Party Manifestos, we have updated this pack with new sets of suggested questions related to the various Party pledges.

EVA England’s work does not stop on the 4th of July. Following the election results, we will once again be hard at work engaging with the new Government, and newly elected Members of Parliament, and raising the issues that matter most to EV drivers and the wider community.

We look forward to briefing, and working with, this new incoming political landscape to make sure that the EV transition continues to be smooth, fair, and equitable.

EVA England is a member association for current and prospective drivers, committed to empowering its members to advocate for clean, zero-emission transportation.

We believe that everyone deserves access to clean transportation, regardless of their income or postcode. Our EV Drivers’ Manifesto and our tools, such as our Powering Up policy report and the Constituency EV Map, are parts of our efforts to make EVs viable for everyone.

Please spread the word and share our resources on social media, with your friends and family, and at community events.

And if you’re not a member yet, make sure to join EVA England so that together we can make our voices heard.

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