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Urgent Policy Action Needed to Secure UK’s Role in Electric Vehicle Revolution, Warns Aston University Report

by Anna

A report from Aston University’s Centre for Business Prosperity raises concerns about the United Kingdom potentially falling behind in the global electric vehicle (EV) revolution. Experts emphasize the critical need for immediate policy intervention to safeguard the UK’s automotive industry, considering the rapid pace of change in the EV sector.

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The report, titled “Powering the Future: Aligning Economic Policy for Automotive Sector Resilience in the face of Critical Material Challenges,” provides a thorough analysis of the UK’s EV industry. Professor Jun Du and Dr Oleksandr Shepotylo underscore that the UK currently lacks the strength to capitalize on the EV revolution and its associated market opportunities. Given the urgency of the situation, the report stresses that opportunities won’t wait for policymakers to catch up.

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One significant challenge highlighted in the report is the UK’s heavy dependence on battery imports, exceeding exports by 10.5 times. This vulnerability places the country at a disadvantage, especially when compared to global leaders like Germany and China in EV exports. The UK faces multifaceted challenges arising from technological advancements, socioeconomic shifts, and geopolitical intricacies, necessitating agile economic policies.

Brexit, as outlined in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, further complicates matters, introducing challenges related to non-tariff measures and rules of origin affecting EV exports. The report suggests that in the face of escalating global competition and industrial policies, nimble responses become imperative.

To address these challenges, the report proposes a four-point plan for automotive sector resilience. The roadmap advocates for strategic initiatives such as optimizing trade policies, investing in EV battery production, crafting a future-ready industrial strategy, and continuous monitoring of global value chains.

Professor Jun Du from Aston Business School emphasizes that aligning policy ideas with the evolving dynamics of the global EV market is crucial for cultivating a resilient and competitive UK automotive industry. Dr Oleksandr Shepotylo adds that the report sheds light on the need for coherent industrial strategies, citing examples from the EU, US, and China, which capitalize on the shift to Net Zero, whereas the UK appears to favor a reactive approach.

The report concludes with a warning that the UK risks ongoing critical dependency on battery imports while its EU counterparts actively reduce such risks. Urgent action is required to fortify the UK’s position and ensure lasting growth, competitiveness, and innovation in the realm of electric mobility.

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