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Get into gear

Gov’t investment call for auto electric future
Ryan Fletcher, Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

More than a third of car-buyers are open to purchasing an electric vehicle a new survey has revealed, as the automotive industry prepares to switch to battery operated motors.



With the demand for electric vehicles increasing, Unite said the government must ready the country’s infrastructure and manufacturing base for the changes ahead.



A new poll found that 35 percent of respondents would be “happy to buy an electric car”.



The CarGurus survey of 1,002 people who have purchased a car in the last two years, or a planning to buy one within the next 12 months, also found that 51 percent are open to buying a hybrid car.



The survey follows news that BMW will build its new electric Mini in the UK. In September the car manufacturer announced that from 2020 all its models will have an electric version.



BMW’s Klaus Fröhlich said: “The trend towards electric mobility is irreversible.”



The announcement followed similar moves by Jaguar Land Rover, Astin Martin and Volvo. Yesterday (October 3) General Motors also said it is now concentrating on an all-electric future.



While the government has announced some measures to facilitate the switch to electric vehicles, including the Automated and Electric Vehicle Bill and a £246m investment in battery technology, other nations have done far more to get ahead in the nascent industry.



Britain particularly lags behind other countries in its ability to manufacture batteries to power electric cars, which has hindered investment.



Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke called on the government to get into gear.



“We need serious investment to grow our manufacturing base as a part of proper industrial strategy that commits to putting the UK in pole position for electric motoring and building the infrastructure needed to power the cars of tomorrow,” Burke said.



“It is essential for the future of our auto industry that the research, development, production and maintenance of electric vehicles and battery technologies are based in the UK. That’s why Unite is currently building a strategy on the best way for this to be achieved.”




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