Zero emission vision - electric vehicles & 'Streetspace' plans

01 June 2020

Investment in electric vehicles has been relatively slow to gain momentum in Europe but a significant shift occurred in 2019 with €60 billion of investment secured to produce electric vehicles and batteries, 19 times more than in 2018. Volkswagen are seriously ambitious with plans to produce 75 all-electric models worldwide by 2029. Germany received the biggest chunk at €40 billion and the Czech Republic a significant sum of €6.6 billion. Italy, France, Sweden, the UK, Spain and Croatia will all receive a share.     The EU has set some stringent targets in terms of CO2 emissions leading industry and governments to commit 3.5 times more to electric vehicle (EV) and battery production than China. Phased in from 2020 and by 2021, the fleet wide carbon footprint of a manufacturer must average 95g CO2/km. This emission level corresponds to a fuel consumption of around 4.1 l/100 km of petrol or 3.6 l/100 km of diesel and if breached, will result in a hefty fine. The EU directive has set the tone for the future, but lockdown has validated these changes. The haze has lifted, the improvement in air quality is visible and we have undisputable evidence that shows how we can scale down the impact that we have on the environment. The aim is to support a green recovery by prioritising EV production alongside purchase incentives to boost zero-emission car sales. Earlier this year, the National Express Group announced that they are no longer going to buy diesel buses for their UK operation, and they plan to be the UK’s most sustainable bus and coach company, leading the transition to zero emission with a target for the first

electric coaches to be in service next year. With environmental targets accounting for 25% of senior executive long-term incentive plans, they are aiming to have zero emissions by 2030 for their bus fleet and by 2035 for their UK coach fleet. The National Express Group says that it recognises the importance of operators playing their part in delivering public policy ambitions and is determined to be part of that change and to demonstrate leadership. Keeping the number of people using public transport as low as possible will be part of the government’s plan going forward. In a statement, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that Covid-19 posed ‘the biggest challenge to London’s public transport network in TfL’s history’ and that ‘it will take a monumental effort from all Londoners to maintain safe social distancing on public transport as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased’. Passenger numbers have plummeted due to people staying at home with fare and other revenue dropping by 90%. In response to this, the UK government has promised a funding package of £1.6 billion to protect services.

New measures have been announced as part of the Streetspace programme, designed to enable appropriate and safe social distancing on public transport by encouraging people to walk and cycle. Work is underway to broaden pavements and to promote walking with roughly 5,000 square metres of space already added in the last week. Some of the streets in London will be turned over to pedestrians and cyclists, other streets will be for buses only and some of the bridges such as Waterloo and London Bridge will only be open to buses, pedestrians and cyclists. Temporary cycle lanes have already been introduced and speed limits cut to 20mph in these areas. London’s congestion charge and low emission zones will be reinstated to discourage car drivers and as part of the funding measures agreed with the government, it is proposed that the congestion charge be increased from £11.50 to £15 a day from June, with its hours extended to between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. A green recovery is underway. Watch this space for some staggering and inspirational changes over the coming months…

Produced by Rayner Spencer Mills Research Limited on behalf of Verbatim Asset Management


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