Net Zero Targets and Decarbonising Transport — [Caroline Nokes in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 4th February 2020.

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Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Conservative, East Hampshire 9:30 am, 4th February 2020

I will let that point hang in mid-air because, like the points made by my hon. Friend Alex Chalk and Ben Lake, it is spot on. Those things are all part of the mix.

On electric vehicles and the infrastructure network, there is quite a spread in the concentration of publicly available charging points in local areas. That is partly because some areas have more on-street parking than others. Some have more off-street parking, and we would expect more private charging points there. The conventional wisdom would suggest that we should look at the places that have a low concentration and try to get them up. Actually, I think there is an argument the other way: places that already have quite a high concentration of charging points benefit from network effects, and we could concentrate on building up the number of electric vehicle users there. They are in very different types of places. London has a significant concentration, but so does Milton Keynes, Dundee, Oxford, West Berkshire and South Lakeland. A wide variety of places have relatively high concentrations of charging points relative to the population.

On regulation, I hope that the Minister will be able to say more about the required availability of charging points in new-build homes. I also hope that he will say something about electricity tariffs and ensuring that all domestic consumers can benefit from lower-cost electricity overnight, when the market rate is cheaper, in order to charge vehicles. I think this is outside the remit of the Department for Transport, but if fleet buyers create an extra surge of demand for electricity in one particular area, who bears the cost for upgrading the kit?

Most important of all on the issue of consumer acceptance is the fact that the product has to be in the consideration set. Whatever other cars consumers look at buying or hiring, they should at least think about an electric vehicle. Therefore, just getting people behind the wheel of one of these cars to try them out is a great opportunity. I wonder about the potential of a mass test-drive campaign across the country.

We should also think, perhaps less ambitiously, about the role of the dealer. We have concentrated an awful lot on manufacturers and consumers, but we have not thought much about the car salespeople.