Government roundtable discusses £51bn industry

The government has today met leaders of the automotive industry to discuss plans to position the UK as a global leader in electric and connected and autonomous vehicle technology.

Transport minister John Hayes chaired the roundtable, which included representatives of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), vehicle manufacturers, the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

The minster also outlined the content and progress of the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill, which will introduce new policies designed to modernise the UK’s transport system and help capitalise on a sector valued at £51bn per year.

Measures include electric charging infrastructure at motorway service stations and fuel retailers, ensuring charging points are compatible with all vehicles across all networks, and updating insurance rules to cater for autonomous driving.

John Hayes said, ‘I’ve enjoyed listening to views from the industry and discussing a range of topics, including our Vehicle Aviation and Technology Bill which will make sure the right infrastructure is in place such as more electric charging points, hydrogen refuelling stations and the right insurance products for automated vehicles.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, added, ‘The UK is currently the EU’s biggest market for electric cars, while on-road trials of next generation self-driving vehicles are already taking place on our roads. We welcome government’s commitment to create the conditions necessary to position the UK as a centre of excellence for the development of this technology. These vehicles will transform our roads and society, dramatically reducing accidents, improving air quality, connecting people and saving thousands of lives every year. Our SMMT Connected event later this month will explore in detail how the UK automotive sector – and society as a whole – is poised to benefit.’

SMMT Connected takes place on 30 March in London, attended by secretary of stage Greg Clark, Dr Ian Robertson, member of the board of management, BMW AG, David Richter, VP of strategic initiatives, Uber, Doug Davis, SVP and GM, automated driving froup, Intel Corporation, and Mike Hawes, chief executive, SMMT.

A new report exploring the impact of connected and autonomous vehicles on different sectors of society will also be published at the event.