UK Government Says It's Unnecessary to Establish Targets or Provide Support for Plug-In Vehicles
Let's hope this doesn't signal the start of a trend.
Recently, the UK's Transport Select Committee submitted its report, titled "Plugged in Policy?" The report focused on plug-in vehicles, including adoption, charging, and sales. The UK's government officials reviewed "Plugged in Policy?" and arrived at the general conclusion that it's not necessary to establish targets for plug-in vehicle sales and that it's not the duty of government to standardize charging points or otherwise support the growth of plug-in vehicles.
The government arrived at this conclusion despite recommendations to the contrary presented by one of the government's Common Select Committees. The committee suggested that the government explain how it will standardize the plug-in vehicle infrastructure, which in this case includes charging requirements (connectors, locations, fees) and financial incentives for plug-in vehicle buyers.
The government rejected the idea that it should be involved in this process, instead stating "There are advantages to a single recharging plug solution… it is our stance that it is for the market and industry to decide what charging hardware and infrastructure will be."
Furthermore, the report from the Committee suggested that the government establish sales targets to assess the success of plug-in vehicle and to evaluate the impact of the UK's subsidies for plug-in vehicles. In response, the government stated that uncertainty of market penetration of plug-ins prevents a target from being established. If there's no goal, then how can a nation evaluate success?
This back-seat approach and we're-not-involved attitude is not likely to promote growth in the plug-in vehicle segment. If the government of a nation can't stand behind a worthy product, then its residents likely won't either. There's already evidence of this in the UK, where sales of plug-in vehicles are abysmal, but if this hands-off stance were to be adopted by other nations, the consequences would seriously impact the health of the market.
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