Phil Tomlinson advises MPs on green car manufacturing

Dr Phil Tomlinson, an expert on industrial policy from our School of Management, has presented policy proposals to MPs in the All-Party Manufacturing Group and industry representatives on how UK manufacturing can capitalise on Low Carbon Vehicles (LCVs).

Dr Tomlinson is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Business Economics and a member of our Institute for Policy Research. He was part of a panel of speakers debating new opportunities for UK manufacturing; how well placed industry is to seize these opportunities; and whether Government has the right approach to maximise benefits for regional and national economies.

Dr Tomlinson believes that the adoption of low carbon vehicle technologies provides new opportunities for UK manufacturers, particularly since the UK holds a competitive advantage in certain technology specialisms, including in batteries, motors and power electronics. In addition, UK-based companies that provide the charging infrastructure for electric car and plug-in hybrids have been early movers in the market.

He said: “Growth in the LCV industry also offers potential benefits for regional development, particularly, for instance, in regions such as the West Midlands automotive cluster, which still retains world expertise in automotive research, development and manufacture.”

Constraints to growth exist on both the demand and supply side of the market, not solved through recent government initiatives, and to grow the market Dr Tomlinson recommends:

  • Creating greater incentives for manufacturers to supply low carbon vehicles, especially electric vehicles which are zero-rated, by establishing a regulatory body with a remit to establish targets for average CO2 exhaust emissions across a manufacturer’s range of vehicles.
  • Rewarding efficient producers of LCVs and encouraging greater innovation in the sector by creating a Californian style Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate, whereby manufacturers are required to ensure a minimum proportion of their sales are LCVs. A European mandate could be flexible and tradeable, allowing manufacturers who sell a greater proportion of LCVs to sell surplus credits to manufacturers not meeting their targets.

Dr Tomlinson said: “If the UK is to become a leader in developing and manufacturing LCVs, it is critical that key stakeholders – LCV manufacturers, the supply chain and technology providers, academia and private research laboratories and policy-makers – collaborate far more closely to innovate and develop the technological roadmap.”

The event, Manufacturing Opportunities from Energy Trends, was jointly hosted by the All Party Manufacturing Group and Carbon Connect at the House of Commons on Tuesday 4 November 2014, chaired by Tom Greatrex MP, shadow Energy Minister. Carbon Connect is an independent forum that facilitates discussion and debate between business, government and parliament to bring about a low carbon future.

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