Maximising the opportunity of road transport decarbonisation

We recently had the pleasure of supporting a CBI Energy and Climate Network event at the iconic Shard at London Bridge.

The event was a chance to bring together transport and energy business leaders to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the UK on the journey to decarbonising transport.

Transport is the still the second largest sector contributor To UK emissions

With transport contributing to 27% of UK carbon emissions, there is a clear and obvious need to find an affordable and viable transport solution for consumers and businesses. The UK government’s release of the Clean Growth Strategy, Industrial Strategy and draft Clean Air Strategy, highlights the importance in decarbonising transport. This presents many opportunities during the transitional period which will create exciting new products for consumers.

Collaboration; the key to achieving the 2040 zero emission vehicles deadline

The day began with a welcome address and opening comments from Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director, CBI. Matthew highlighted that much progress had been made in the Road to Zero carbon transmission, but that there is so much more potential. Over the past five years, Electric Vehicle ownership has increased from 2000 - 100,000 and top car manufacturers are rapidly expanding their plans for low emission vehicles such as electric vehicles (EVs), by investing significantly in R&D.

The Government has set an ambitious target for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040, which supports their commitment to a low carbon future. However, to achieve this target there needs to be significant consumer behavioural change supported by technology. To implement this change successfully it is clear that business and government need to work collaboratively. Currently, low emission vehicles only make up 2% of all vehicles on the road which represents a huge opportunity.

To tackle the issue of low carbon emission transport the government has recently launched The Road to Zero: Next steps towards cleaner road transport and delivering our Industrial Strategy.   

The framework of the Road to Zero strategy includes three key steps these are:

Certainty – Consumers need to fully trust the technology available to them
Consistency – This technology should be usable and adaptable beyond consumer’s immediate communities and neighbourhoods.
Collaboration – A requirement between industry, business, academia, environmental groups, local government and international partners.

Keynote – Richard Bruce, Director of Energy, Technology and Innovation, DFT

Richard Bruce provided a keynote, setting out the government’s plans for road transport decarbonisation. He began by outlining the five drivers of change: Industry, Air Quality, Climate, Energy Security, and a 5th emerging driver which is the noise impact on health. The transport sector is considered amongst the harder to reach sectors but as the second biggest user of carbon at 27% decarbonisation is vital. To succeed in this arena there are three requirements for mass market uptake of EVs these are: vehicle supply, consumer demand and infrastructure to support the new network.

Richard summarised by stating the UK government firmly believe that electrification is a key component in decarbonising our roads. Electrification won’t just stop at cars it will roll out to other modes such as bikes and domestic appliances due to the improvements and cost efficiencies in manufacturing. Trends and uptake of the concept of the sharing economy will make EVs and Hybrids popular car choices for car clubs and car share schemes.  At the forefront of these changes are UK cities which will be encouraged and supported to facilitate the uptake of EVs by ensuring charge points are installed and accessible. Ultimately consumers are at the heart of the strategy and the UK government is committed to creating a fit for purpose infrastructure to facilitate uptake of EVs and Hybrid vehicles.

Panel questions

Following on from the keynote there was a panel discussion chaired by Michelle Hubert, Head of Infrastructure and Energy, CBI. The five panellists included:

Steve Barnsley, Programme Director, EDF Energy
Peter Harris, Director of Sustainability – Europe, UPS
Rhian Kelly, Head of UK Public Affairs & Policy, National Grid
Tony Walker CBE DL, Managing Director, Toyota Motor Europe

Each panellist gave a short introduction to the work of their companies and key priorities including the barriers and opportunities within each sector in transport decarbonisation. In short, the biggest barriers to the changes required are economical and around infrastructure.

The morning ended with closing remarks from Matthew Fell. EDF Energy is proud to have participated in the event and contributed to the discussion around facilitating decarbonisation. The EDF Energy R&D team are currently supporting Oxfords V2Go project which involves working closely with the council and local consortiums. The aim of the R&D work in the EV space is to understand the barriers and customers' needs to better tailor our services. Energy is more in demand than ever and with the transitional period of decarbonisation, the aim is to be ready with the right solution for big business and customers and provide the right fuel to supply the grid.

Thinking of going electric?

If you’re keen to find out more about Electric Vehicles read our EV’s guide or visit our EV hub:

Alternatively, if you have a specific question you can contact our EV team:

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Posted by Talk Power Team

The Talk Power Team is here to keep our business community up to date on industry news, our Talk Power live events and to bring you useful information to help you manage your energy. 


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