We're making history with the Green Revolution

Rachel Maclean MP

1.7.2021

We are a nation that prides itself on its ability to compete and succeed in a rapidly changing world. We have maintained our position at the forefront of technological and cultural developments throughout our great history. And we’re not stopping now. 

Two hundred and fifty years ago we harnessed the power of steam and iron, setting in motion the Industrial Revolution that was to change the world. Later, in the nineteenth century, when streets became too congested, we opened the London Underground – the first of its kind – the likes of which is now seen in major cities across the world. Just over eighty years ago, Coventry-born Frank Whittle altered the course of aviation forever by developing the jet engine. And today, we are leading the world in driving the green industrial revolution.  

Our continued determination, resilience and ambition as a nation has led to extraordinary success so far in driving this and has seen so many of us make the switch to electric cars and vans as we work to combat the global climate crisis – the most important issue of our lifetimes.

When congestion became too much above ground, Britain invented the Tube

We could not be taking the challenges we face more seriously, with billions of pounds being invested by this Government in cleaner, more sustainable, modes of transport. 

Recently these efforts were reflected in an incredible milestone, with confirmation that sales of electric cars in the UK had reached 500,000. And while our work is ongoing, I for one paused to consider this remarkable achievement. 

 Half a million cars on our roads are contributing to better air quality, a cleaner climate and a greener future. 

And as lockdown restrictions continue to ease, with more and more people embarking on longer journeys around the country, whether this be for long-overdue trips to see their family members or to enjoy a staycation, this milestone could not have come at a more crucial moment.

MG ZS cars lined up on a dealer forecourt Half a million electric cars are now on UK roads

We are indeed travelling in the right direction. Owning an electric vehicle is easier now than it has ever been before, and that’s exactly what this Government’s ambition has been all along – to ensure as many people as possible have access to cleaner modes of transport. 

But we know we cannot rely on this milestone alone, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure the air we breathe is clean and safe for us and for future generations.  

I’m aware there are some who think owning an electric vehicle is a privilege for the few. I am passionate about dispelling this myth. 

We continue to support people buying electric vehicles through grant incentives, providing up to £2,500 for those making the all-important switch. To date, our grants for electric vehicles have provided around £1.3 billion to support the early market for EVs, and we recently announced a further £582m to extend them for two more years.

Vauxhall Mokka e electric car exterior front The shift in grants resulted in price cuts for many electric cars

Not only that, but it is also so important to note that owning an electric vehicle is often cheaper in the long run than running your standard petrol or diesel car. The fact is, running a fully electric vehicle could cost from as little as 1p per mile. Think of that – 1p to drive a mile in a car which is also contributing to better air quality.  

As a result of our most recent grant changes, around 18 models of fully electric vehicles have come down in price, helping more people afford one; and as the statistics show – people are buying them. 

It’s not just the fact that EVs are becoming more affordable. Manufacturers continue to release new models with greatly improved batteries, allowing the car to drive greater distances. We have reached a point where more and more electric cars can travel 200 or even 300 miles on a single charge, and as I say, the batteries are only getting better.

Hyundai Kona electric car rear and side Cars like the Kona can now do 300 miles on a charge

"We’re making £1.3 billion available over the next four years to install chargepoints where people need them, and we’ve committed to supporting the continued roll-out of chargepoints on motorways and major A roads, in homes and businesses and on-street, so that no matter where you are in the country, whether you live in a flat or a house or even if you don’t have access to private off-street parking, you can quickly and easily charge your vehicle."

The UK already has one of the largest EV charging networks in Europe, and we are still working hard to go even further. Our plan is to have one of the best infrastructure networks in the world for electric vehicles so that chargepoints continue to be accessible, affordable and secure. 

Last month, I was delighted to see the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets announce £300 million will go towards providing 200 low carbon projects to get the country ready for more electric transport. This will support the installation of 3,550 new ultra-rapid charging points across Britain. Initiatives like this will continue to be rolled out to entice people all over the country to drive an electric car. 

As we get ever closer to the phase out of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and the country is rewired to support a greener future, now is the time to make that all-important switch. 

Our world is changing, and we’ll continue to lead that change, so that the historians of the future look back and see we were at the forefront of this green industrial revolution.

Mazda MX 30 sport tech electric car charging at Gridserve Expect 3,550 new ultra-rapid charging points across Britain soon
About Rachel Maclean MP

Rachel Maclean MP represents the constituency of Redditch in Worcestershire, England and was appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to serve as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport in February 2020.

Among other transport-related matters, she has responsibility for the future of transport and the environment - including decarbonising emissions and the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. Rachel is an electric car owner. 

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