Road pricing and infrastructure at the crossroads

By David Savage, vice president, UK and Ireland, Geotab. We have less than eight years before we are at the point where we’ll no longer be able to buy new petrol and diesel cars. It doesn’t leave long to prepare for the vast changes to our national infrastructure as we switch to charging points rather than fuel pumps.

The shift from fossil-fuels will benefit us all. So it’s a welcome relief that the Government published its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy in March. Local authorities will take the lead in implementing a strategy to plug the gap in rapid charging points for those without off-street parking.

At the same time, we have a debate about the new forms of road taxation from the Treasury Select Committee. The government is facing a potential £35bn black hole in the public sector finances that will come from switching to EV vehicles.

If we want to incentivise people and businesses to switch to EVs, then it makes sense to provide tax breaks. But it also gives us the opportunity to become world leaders by introducing new ways of road pricing. Smart pricing policies based on telematic monitoring seems to be the logical way forward.

We don’t have long to get it right. Governments – both local and central – tend to move at a snail’s pace. So we’ll be doing all we can to influence the debate to make sure we have an infrastructure and road pricing system in place that is fair to all yet still provide the incentives to encourage us to make the right choices to fully embrace EVs in the years to come.

Read more in our opinion column on page 22