Electric and Autonomous Vehicles

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th March 2018.

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Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Conservative, North East Hampshire 12:00 am, 13th March 2018

What steps he is taking to support the development of electric and autonomous vehicles.

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The automotive sector deal will ensure that the UK continues to reap the benefits from leading the transition to zero-emission and autonomous vehicles. Last month that drew in £33 million of investment into the UK-based connected and autonomous vehicle programmes, with participation from across the industry.

Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Conservative, North East Hampshire

Jaguar Land Rover recently developed the I-Pace, its first all-electric performance SUV, and, as my hon. Friend Mark Pawsey mentioned, the London Electric Vehicle Company has developed the world’s first purpose-built electric taxi. Will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating those great British manufacturers on the world-leading role they are playing in the sector?

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

I certainly will. The Jaguar and the London taxi are iconic images, and to see them leading the way into the future is a matter of great delight. I congratulate both companies on choosing to manufacture those vehicles in the UK.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

What is the Secretary of State doing to help development in the transition from diesel to electric vehicles? In particular, how is he helping with infrastructure?

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

We are working very closely with the industry to ensure that as it develops the new technologies of the future, it is able to plan a smooth transition to a world in which all vehicles will be compatible with our climate objectives.

Photo of Steve Double Steve Double Conservative, St Austell and Newquay

All the new electric vehicles will need batteries, of which lithium is an essential element. Recent discoveries of large deposits of lithium in Cornwall open up the possibility of the UK securing a domestic supply for this vital element. What support can the Secretary of State give to this exciting new emerging sector?

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Through our industrial strategy, we have highlighted the potential for new developments in battery storage. If Cornwall can supply the lithium to power that new industry then I am delighted to hear it. I will discuss the possibilities further with my hon. Friend.

Photo of Peter Kyle Peter Kyle Labour, Hove

At yesterday’s Select Committee visit, mentioned by Mark Pawsey, it became very apparent that the market for electric vehicles is maturing at a much faster rate than many people realise. Is it possible that the ambition of the sector itself is outstripping the ambition of the Government, and should the 2040 target not be brought forward, perhaps even by a decade?

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

When it comes to the new generation of automotive technology, the ambition of this Government is not outstripped by anyone. We are working very closely—hand in glove—with the industry, through the Automotive Council, to make sure that we are the best placed in the world not only to research the new technologies, but to manufacture them in this country.