Carmakers Gripe About U.K.’s Surprise Electric-Car Incentive Cut

Carmakers are pushing for the U.K. to increase incentives for electric vehicles, arguing the country’s plan to phase out cars powered by gasoline and diesel by 2030 can only be achieved by making EVs cheaper.

“It’s not so much a race to zero as a game of snakes and ladders,” Mike Hawes, chief executive officer of the Society of Motors Manufacturers and Traders, said during a webinar Thursday. “When other markets are increasing incentives, we are cutting ours.”

Last week, the U.K. reduced a purchase subsidy for electric cars, vans and trucks to 2,500 pounds ($3,500) from 3,000 pounds, and lowered the price ceiling for models that qualify to 35,000 pounds. Hawes said incentives and charging-infrastructure spending introduced by other countries in Europe including the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have helped spur EV demand.

The U.K. was the largest European market for Tesla Model 3 registrations last year.

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