Automakers blast Sunak's EV backpedal, RE grant handed to UK miner

UK risking investment and jobs by backpedalling

Lisa Brankin, Ford UK chair, said the UK government's policy should focus on bolstering the EV market in the short term. Source: Ford Motors

Lisa Brankin, Ford UK chair, said the UK government's policy should focus on bolstering the EV market in the short term. Source: Ford Motors

Automakers, including Ford, have blasted UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's expected plan to delay the ban on sales of new petrol cars from 2030.

"Our business needs three things from the UK government: ambition, commitment and consistency. A relaxation of 2030 would undermine all three," Ford UK chair Lisa Brankin said about the ban.

"We need the policy focus trained on bolstering the EV market in the short term and supporting consumers while headwinds are strong: infrastructure remains immature, tariffs loom and cost-of-living is high."

The comments come on the same day that Britishvolt former chief executive told Fastmarkets conference attendees that the UK's industrial strategy had been "talk rather than walk".

Orral Nadjari was bearish on UK industrial strategy, saying: "We need a brand-new approach to this in the UK, and we need to move much faster."

This sentiment has been backed by FairCharge, a UK lobby group pressing to make the switch to EVs accessible and affordable for all drivers.

"If the government moves the 2030 deadline, they risk billions in investment and thousands of jobs," founder Quentin Willson said. 

"Moving this date for short-term electoral gain will risk both the entire energy transition and the UK's international investment credibility". 

Rare earths funding 

Elsewhere, Pensana, the London-listed rare earths developer, saw its shares spike 9% today on news it had secured grant funding of £316,643  (with Polestar, Route2 and the Universities of Leeds and Hull) by Innovate UK as part of the £15 million CLIMATES program. 

The partnership will develop a low-carbon, sustainable supply chain for rare earth magnets. It is backed by the UK Government and is expected to "review and measure impacts and identify opportunities to further reduce carbon in the rare earth products vital for the energy transition". 

Nusrat Ghani, Minister of State at the Department for Business and Trade, said that the government was "laser-focused" on securing robust supply chains "for the growing, green industries that will deliver jobs and prosperity across the UK in the decades to come". 

Pensana is working to build a supply chain from a mine in Angola to a rare earths processing plant in the UK.

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