Video: How do we accelerate fair transition to low carbon vehicles? – Roundtable discussion

Published: 8 January 2020

Late last year, Energy Systems Catapult’s Consumer Insight lead, Dr Matt Lipson, appeared on BBC Panorama to discuss what the UK Government’s commitment to achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 will mean for a typical British household, in an episode called: Climate Change: What Can We Do?

Matt’s post-script article expanded on the role that decarbonising heating will play in tackling the Net Zero challenge.  The Panorama programme also discussed how transport, especially road transport for a small family, will change in a Net Zero world.

Also featured on the show was the Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change, Chris Stark, who mentioned the Department for Transport mandate that “no new cars on our roads should be internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040” but he stressed that the 2040 target was too late. The date should be brought forward. “At the latest, 2035” he said.

So Energy Systems Catapult recently held a roundtable discussion about: ‘How do we accelerate a fair transition to electric vehicles?’. Chaired by Bunmi Adefajo, Business Lead – Modelling, much of the discussion centred on how feasible it was to bring forward the ban on sales of new internal combustion engines and what efforts would be required to address various barriers, including range anxiety, availability of charge points, affordable electric vehicle options and supply chain issues.



“Bringing forward the 2040 deadline is definitely possible, but we need to make sure the right enablers are in place…”

Thalia Skoufa, Transport Practice Manager


On the issue of charge point availability and range anxiety, Rebecca Lane, Business Modelling Analyst said: “Presently in the UK, there are about 9,500 EV charge points locations compared to 8500 petrol stations” yet only 23% of these are rapid charge points which means EV drivers risk encountering long waits – of perhaps hours at a time – to recharge their cars. So further work is required to improve the fastest chargers and their visibility, in order to grow consumer confidence, particularly for motorists taking longer trips or working in driving professions that may require multiple charges each day.

“In terms of encouraging charge point infrastructure to reduce range anxiety … that is starting to be addressed but clear information on location and access is a key problem.”

Rebecca Lane, Business Modelling Analyst


Ongoing initiatives

Several initiatives to promote mass adoption of low carbon vehicles are already underway, but there is still a lot to do on the decarbonisation of the transport sector to ensure a fair transition for everyone.

The Catapult chairs the Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce, which is due to report back to government in January, and has worked on several projects on low carbon transportation, including the groundbreaking Consumers, Vehicles and Energy Integration (CVEI) project. We’ve developed an analysis tool that can be used to test further variations in and implications for energy supply, infrastructure, vehicles, users, policy and commercial models. We are also supporting the Flexibly-Responsive Energy Delivery (FRED) project, led by Evergreen Smart Power, and are involved in various international initiatives on planning for mass uptake of electric vehicles in India and South Africa.