CoStar Column: Govt must move to aid elective vehicle market

By John Roberts - Monday, March 05, 2018 15:29

Government needs to boost consumer confidence in current Automotive sector for there to be a future electric vehicle market, reports Colliers International's John Roberts, Head of UK Automotive & Roadside at Colliers International.

With the latest research from the Platform for Electromobility revealing that a rise of electric cars in Europe is being hampered by a lack of models for consumers to choose from rather than a lack of public recharging points, one of the other main reasons why the industry is faltering is because it’s still too much in its infancy and there is still a lot of work to do to prepare the infrastructure required to cater for the future of the sector.

There is no doubt that the future of the industry lies in electric vehicles and driverless technology and we fully support awareness initiatives. Yet the market is still very new there are still many technological challenges, investment aspects and safety hurdles that manufacturers need to consider so this will certainly not be an overnight change. 2018 will see advancements in this sector but we don’t anticipate much disruption in the marketplace until we see progression in new technological capabilities. Substantial government funding is required to accelerate the process.

In July 2017, the Government announced plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, as part of its policy to tackle the rising levels of air pollution and the adverse effect this is having on public health however since this review, buyer confidence has been driven down and this is also having a knock-on effect on sales and manufacturing figures nationally.

The Government’s plans are clearly welcomed and are extremely important for the advancement of the sector, however diesel and petrol engines are not being phased out completely until 2040, so there’s still more than 20-years before the changes come into effect and we certainly should not be seeing buyer decision making having an impact on car sales so early in the process. As the electric vehicle roll out won’t be an instant thing, consumers still need to understand what options are available and appropriate for now. For now, we still need to rally support for the conventional automotive sector to reinstate buyer confidence in diesel and petrol cars as this sector has suffered a decline in sales.

John Roberts, Head of UK Automotive & Roadside at Colliers International

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