The long-awaited energy White Paper was finally published on 14 December, giving us more detail on the Government’s plans to ‘clean up our energy system and keep bills affordable’ during the UK’s transition to carbon neutrality.

This follows on from the Government’s 10-Point Plan, which received a mixed reception from the energy sector – high on aspirations, but low on the detail.

Are petrol cars being banned?

Perhaps one of its most headline grabbing proposals though was the bringing forward of the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030 – the fourth item of the ten point plan in the White Paper. In many respects, the UK has taken to this challenge with relish, and with the thought of no petrol and diesel cars coming onto the market after 2030, the role of the electric vehicle and the future of car ownership in the UK has been bought into sharp and immediate focus.

There is no doubt that this is a bold step towards a greener future, but it’s still unclear how this accelerated roll out of EVs will be achieved, and how the Government will encourage consumers to buy them. And, of course, to achieve its own deadline, a huge EV charging infrastructure must be implemented, as well as considerations around battery waste needing to be made. However considerable and tangible progress can be seen week by week.

Electric vehicles

Just over a year ago there were only two electric vehicles in the UK. Now we have a wide variety of manufacturers bringing out a variety of both hybrid and EV vehicles. Tesla now faces a cohort of long term contenders with VW and the Renault alliance very closely behind. General motors has seen considerable progress in its commercial vehicle development. Equally the Light Commercial Vehicle sector now has a variety of offerings including the much needed refrigerated versions required for vaccine delivery.

Challenges facing electric vehicles

As many people have experienced over the past year, having fewer vehicles on the road has led to quieter surroundings and far less pollution which has had a transformative effect and the scaling up of the number of electric vehicles on our roads will help to maintain this. But the fact that the date has been bought forward opens up more issues than it solves at the moment.

Funders/ bankers and leasers of petrol and diesel vehicles will be concerned about the residual value of existing technology.

Manufacturers will be under increasing pressure to get up to speed to ensure they can meet the demand this ban on petrol and diesel vehicles will inevitably create. They have to reassure customers in regard to “range anxiety” meaning their vehicles can start to match the ranges afforded by conventional fuels. Considerable progress has been achieved here.

There is still a huge deficit in the number of public charging points needed in the UK – and a recent article has reported there is a huge skew towards London and the South East. This and the huge issue of introduction of home charging points when 47% of the UK’s housing stock is terraced homes with no driveway. This however has presented an opportunity for the oil companies to transition. They are using their current free cash flows to deliver change. BP has bought Chargemaster and Shell is buying Ubitricity, tangible proof that both companies aim for a greener future.

Turning to energy providers, it’s a fine balancing act for the industry to replace ageing nuclear plants with new modular nuclear – which is in its infancy, whilst continuing to deliver green energy and power all these electric vehicles.

The future of electric vehicles

The next few years will be a crucial time for the future of electric vehicles and whilst there are huge issues to balance across the industry, there are also great opportunities for businesses and those prepared to invest in a greener future for us all.

Britain has shown considerable desire to be at the heart of EV delivery. Within four years a hybrid or electric vehicle will be an inevitable consumer and commercial choice.

What next? Anyone for hydrogen?

Contact us

This a fast moving area of law which affects a new landscape concerning energy efficient modes of transport. For further details please contact Eddie Flanagan or another member of the energy team.

For advice or guidance on any other legal issue, a member of our team can help – please click here to discuss.

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.

Get In Touch

Eddie works with a highly skilled team to deliver industry specific advice to the asset finance and leasing sector.

Eddie and his team advise clients on a wide range of issues concerning leasing, hire, consumer credit, the FCA source book and the regulatory landscape affecting the UK finance and leasing sector.

Written By

Published: 1st February 2021
Area: Corporate & Commercial

How We Can Help

Green Energy

Our team of green energy experts work with a broad range of clients to pioneer clean and low carbon energy solutions. Whether you’re building new houses, improving your green credentials or building green technologies, we’re here to help power you towards net zero…​

Electric Vehicles

Energy & Water Law

We’re exceptionally proud of the deep-rooted energy and water specialisms we have here at Shakespeare Martineau. As one of our priority areas for investment and growth, much of our time and resource is focused upon these related (and converging) sectors, ensuring we are at the forefront of industry developments and are best placed to make a positive difference to our clients.

Our Latest Corporate & Commercial Updates

Flexible Energy Generation and Storage Operator Statera Strikes £500 Million Deal From Major Buyer

7 Feb


Flexible Energy Generation and Storage Operator Statera Strikes £500 Million Deal From Major Buyer

Read article Right Arrow

Our experts are here to answer any questions you might have

If you’d like to speak to a member of our team, please fill out the enquiry form. We will aim to reply to your query within 2 hours

Need to talk to someone sooner? You can call use at the number below

Call Us: 0330 024 0333