London – The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has launched a new, ambitious plan to deliver manufacturing competitiveness across a broad range of industries to support the UK's transitions to net-zero and new mobility trends.
The plan, titled ‘Full throttle: Driving UK automotive competitiveness’, sets out a series of policy proposals for this coming year and remainder of the decade, covering “all aspects essential to automotive industry competitiveness,” said SMMT 29 June.
“The UK industry has many strengths… but the global industry is fiercely competitive, and weaknesses must be addressed if its long term success is to be assured,” it added.
The strategy calls for a new ‘build back better fund’ to support industry transformation, not just in automotive but across other manufacturing sectors.
The fund, SMMT suggested, will help “revolutionise production lines” and overcome some of the areas where the UK lags in cost competitiveness or strategic support such as skills, education and energy costs.
The fund, it added, will also be a key supporter of the sector’s transition to ‘net-zero’ and will help transform existing manufacturing and supply-chain.
Announcing its strategic proposal, the association said that the shift to electrified vehicles is currently "the biggest challenge facing the sector."
While the costs for building zero emission vehicles are falling, this is not happening quickly enough for the industry to hit the 2030 target, SMMT said.
“Unlike other major governments, the UK has yet to back its ambition with a matching level of investment in battery production incentives, charging networks and affordable clean energy,” it said.
Citing “independent analysts”, the association predicted that by 2025, the UK will have just 12 GWh of lithium-ion battery capacity, compared to 164 GWh in Germany, 91 GWh in the US and 32 GWh in France.
“The next ten years will be crucial to the long-term future of the industry,” SMMT said, noting that without government support, there was "a real risk that the industry’s economic footprint could substantially decline.”
The report called for a “binding target” of 60 GWh of battery capacity to be built by 2030.
“These ‘gigafactories’ would give British manufacturers the capability to produce up to one million electric vehicles a year and ensure tariff free access to critical markets in the EU,” it added.
Furthermore, the report called for the installation of at least 2.3 million charging points nationwide before the end of the decade to support market transition towards sustainable mobility.
Among other recommendations, the proposal also called on the government to support the development a fuel cell gigafactory with 2GWh capacity for cars, heavier vehicles and rail units by 2030.