Automotive sector invests almost £11bn in first “electric decade”

The UK automotive industry has invested almost £11bn in electric vehicle and battery R&D and production since 2011, according to the latest figures.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said £10.8bn has been dedicated to UK electric vehicle production and gigafactories since 2011, with billions more invested globally to bring new technology to market.

In Britain’s first “electric decade”, kicked off by a £420m investment in Sunderland for the UK’s first mass-produced battery electric car, more than ten vehicle manufacturers have invested in communities across the country to create jobs and to design, engineer and build green vehicles for domestic and export markets.

While overall UK gigafactory capacity is currently just 2GWh, the £10.8bn figure includes major battery production commitments that will come online in the coming years, estimated to take UK capability to around 41GWh by 2027.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The UK automotive industry has set out its intent – to meet the challenge of Net Zero – and has backed that ambition with cash, investing massively during Britain’s first electric decade.

“As we enter the second, the stakes are higher, with some of the world’s toughest regulation coming, regulation that will seek to determine the pace of change in a market constantly buffeted by headwinds.

“But mandates on manufacturers alone will not drive the market. Delivering Net Zero needs a competitive industry and a competitive market. We need a holistic strategy with binding targets on chargepoint provision, attractive fiscal and purchase incentives, and a reliable, accessible and affordable user experience.

“We need a universal right to charge electric vehicles, for all drivers, wherever they live, wherever they travel and whatever their needs.”