The future of the motor world is electric. But how long will it take to get to it? The UK sets the pace: no new petrol or diesel cars will be sold in 2030.
“The danger is that what has been set in the UK is a date: 2030. But no ‘roadmap’ has been designed for this,” says David Bailey, Professor of Industrial Strategy at the University of Birmingham.
Car manufacturers know that gasoline and diesel are on the way to extinction, but the UK rush poses a unique challenge for domestic manufacturers.
“This is really the biggest change in the car industry in the last hundred years. Right now in the UK one in ten cars sold is electric. We have to go from one in 10 to 10 in 10 Bailey adds.
The production cycles of the cars are situated in a period of time of six or seven years. Thus, a model is produced for about seven years. Although 2030 seems to be a long way off, most car manufacturers have to reorient their research and development towards electric cars.
The ambitious project could have unforeseen consequences. The European car giant Stellantis has called it “brutal” and has warned that it could end with the closure of the factory it has in central England, where the Astra models of Opel and Vauxhall are made.
“Automakers anticipate having 325 new EV models on the market by 2025. That is, five years before the deadline. So the companies that say it’s not possible are the ones who want more time to catch up. their competitors, “says Greg Archer, Director of the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E), UK.
“Until recently, the UK was the nation that made the most electric cars in Europe. But with the recent surge in demand, coinciding with the uncertainty of Brexit, this has changed. Continental Europe is leading the development of another crucial part of the electric vehicle supply chain: the new factories to build batteries, “says Euronews correspondent Tadhg Enright.
“Battery manufacturing and actual car manufacturing will go hand in hand. Batteries are heavy enough to transport around the world. New plants are being built in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, while the UK only has one plant, near Sunderland. We are behind in this race but there is still a lot of time to make up lost ground, “says Stephen Gifford, chief economist at the Faraday Institution.
Brexit also complicates matters. For UK-made cars to be sold duty-free in the EU, by 2026 their batteries will have to be made, for the most part, from local parts; one more reason for urgency in this ‘revolution’.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.