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Ford calls for ‘Minister for Electrification’

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Ford has published the results of a survey which suggests that there is a lack of awareness about electric vehicles (EVs), so the auto giant is calling for the creation of a 'Minister for Electrification' to boost EV adoption.

The automaker commissioned a survey of 2,000 people which found that almost half (46 per cent) of people do not intend to buy an EV in the future. The main reasons given for hesitation include perceived lack of affordability (53 per cent); concerns about where to charge a vehicle (51 per cent) and range anxiety (33 per cent).

In July 2017, the UK government announced that it would phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040. This year, the government brought forward that target to 2035 and included hybrids in the ban. While petrol and diesel cars still account for nine out of every ten car sales in the UK, automakers are increasingly focused on developing more affordable and practical EVs.

The survey found that there appears to be a lack of understanding about how EVs work – and even what they are, at the most basic level – with 36 per cent unable to correctly identify an EV as a vehicle with at least one electric motor.

Andy Barratt, managing director for Ford of Britain, suggested that the government could establish and formalise a senior role to work alongside local government, energy providers and vehicle manufacturers to manage electrification: a “minister for electrification”.

“While the move to electrification is gathering pace, there’s no mistaking that this is a huge task ahead of us that will require fundamental efforts to ensure consumers are taken on the journey and the first step is understanding what their options are,” Barratt said. “Given the size and scale of what we want to achieve in the UK, we need to kick-start this process.

“A fast start could include the creation of a specific senior role in government to help coordinate a comprehensive electrification strategy for the UK – a 'minister for electrification' who can work cross-functionally across government and with the various stakeholders.”

A Dpeartment for Transport spokesperson told the Press Association: “We have delivered a world-leading package to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles, including a £2.5bn programme to support grants for plug-in vehicles and funding for chargepoint infrastructure in homes, workplaces and across the wider roads network.

“We are committed to looking at new ways to work with industry to reduce carbon emissions and boost economic growth in the UK. That includes supporting the transition to zero emission vehicles alongside our consultation on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans.”

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