The electric vehicle revolution is levelling up Britain’s manufacturing heartlands
Our government is helping to usher in an electric vehicle (EV) technological revolution. As I highlighted from the green benches in Parliament last week, advances in innovation are crucial to bringing EVs to the market for all, and firms like Westfield Sportscars in my constituency of Dudley South are paving the way.
Key to this is creating the right business environment for business investment so we can push ahead with an electric future.
The government has a proven track record here, and we are already seeing successes from our market-driven and innovation-led approach. From Nissan’s recent £1 billion investment in its Sunderland plant, to Vauxhall’s £100 million investment in Ellesmere Port, companies are choosing the UK thanks to this.
For consumers, the government is investing in charging infrastructure and creating incentives for people to switch through the plug-in grant. Just this month, we have also seen the announcement of 10,000 additional charging points that will be built by British start-up Connected Kerb.
Elsewhere, the government is harnessing market competition through the introduction of a zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate, which will speed up the roll out of EVs and ensure they reach the second-hand market sooner. This shows how a combination of policy and private investment are creating an exciting landscape for EVs in the UK.
We must continue to create the environment that has brought so much investment into our car industry and wider manufacturing supply chain
This approach is also putting Britain at the forefront of innovation. The UK is becoming a hotbed for technological advancements to take the EV rollout up to the next gear. Companies like Aceleron near Birmingham, which is currently developing the world's first recyclable, upgradeable and serviceable lithium-ion batteries, are cementing the UK’s position as an EV leader. This innovative spirit will continue to improve the driver experience giving electric cars longer lasting batteries that will allow for even quicker charging, making it easier than ever for consumers to choose an EV.
These successes are also a great example of a Global, post-Brexit Britain in action. We are seeing Britain’s car manufacturing industry speed forward into a new age, with the opportunity for the UK to build its exports in the coming years. In 2018 we exported 80 per cent of the polluting and electric cars we produced, imagine where we could be in 2028. We should continue to implement policies that allow investments in EVs to thrive, and for the UK to remain a market leader for years to come.
In my own constituency, Dudley South, we are seeing the fruits of this industrial revolution firsthand. As the creator of the first electric driverless pods, Westfield Sportscars is leading the way in EV innovation, with its technology now being used in airports around the world, from London to Dubai. It has also created the first electric DIY car and continues to innovate with its electric model sports cars. Westfield currently employs 50 people in highly-skilled jobs, with many more involved in the supply chain, showing how supporting this innovation is creating much needed manufacturing jobs of the future too.
Elsewhere in my region, plans for the West Midlands Gigafactory, which will be the largest single industry facility of any kind in the UK, have also recently been revealed. It is great to see the opportunities and the high-skilled well-paid jobs that this venture, and others like it, will bring to my area in years to come. This provides just one example of how the EV revolution is levelling up Britain’s manufacturing heartlands and supporting the future of this sector.
It is vital that we maintain this progress. We must continue to create the environment that has brought so much investment into our car industry and wider manufacturing supply chain, allowing Britain to lead the way on the global transition to electric vehicles.
Mike Wood is the Conservative MP for Dudley South.
Get the inside track on what MPs and Peers are talking about. Sign up to The House's morning email for the latest insight and reaction from Parliamentarians, policy-makers and organisations.