Four things the new Labour government must do to allow the UK’s EV industry to thrive

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Professor Paul Noon OBE Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Enterprise & Innovation) and CEO CUSL

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Tuesday 09 July 2024

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Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Enterprise & Innovation) and CEO CUSL, Professor Paul Noon OBE, shares his thoughts on the steps the Labour government must take to ensure the UK remains relevant in EV manufacturing.

As the electric vehicle (EV) revolution accelerates, Sir Keir Starmer’s new government has a golden opportunity to secure the UK's place in this burgeoning industry. Being a key player in EV manufacturing offers multifaceted benefits, including strengthening the UK's economic future, achieving environmental goals and asserting technological leadership.

Positioning ourselves at the heart of this revolution aligns with global trends and fortifies the UK as a competitive force in the rapidly evolving automotive industry. To seize this opportunity, Labour must take crucial steps to cement our position in the EV manufacturing space."

Investing in robust infrastructure

The backbone of any thriving EV industry is robust infrastructure and we must significantly ramp up investment in EV charging networks. Despite recent progress, the availability of charging points remains insufficient, particularly in rural areas. Substantial subsidies and incentives for the installation of fast-charging stations nationwide would be a vital start, supporting the anticipated surge in EV adoption. This not only boosts consumer confidence but also attracts global EV manufacturers seeking a supportive infrastructure network.

Leveraging private sector investment

To foster a robust domestic EV manufacturing sector, the Labour government must create a competitive edge by leveraging private sector investment alongside public funds. Offering attractive incentives to both existing manufacturers and new entrants is crucial. This includes tax breaks, grants, and subsidies for setting up and expanding production facilities.

Additionally, supporting R&D initiatives focused on next-generation battery technology will help position the UK as a leader in EV innovation. Encouraging private sector investment through co-financing and public-private partnerships can significantly amplify the impact of government initiatives.

Developing a skilled workforce

Transitioning to EV manufacturing requires a highly skilled-workforce adept in new technologies. The government must invest in education and training programmes to equip workers with the necessary skills.

This involves fostering partnerships among schools, Further Education (FE) institutions and Higher Education (HE) institutions to develop specialised courses in EV technology and manufacturing processes. Such collaboration ensures that educational pathways are aligned with industry needs, creating an ecosystem of innovation.

By building a UK talent pool that meets the demands of the EV industry, we’ll be in a stronger position to attract global manufacturers seeking a skilled workforce.

A unified approach for a thriving future

Innovation in the transport sector is in our DNA. Through global collaborations with industry and pioneering research into clean energy solutions, Coventry University Group is helping lead the electric vehicle revolution. However, broader national success hinges on immediate and decisive action by Sir Keir Starmer.

By enhancing infrastructure, incentivising domestic production, leveraging private sector investment and investing in workforce training, his government can ensure that the UK not only competes but thrives in the global EV market. This moment presents an unparalleled opportunity for Labour to take the lead and drive the UK towards a prosperous and sustainable future in EV manufacturing.