An Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill will be introduced to encourage the use of electric and self-driving cars, the Government announced in the Queen’s Speech.
The first all-electric car to be built in the UK rolled off of the production line in 2013, and the Government wants “almost every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050″.
Of more than 36.7 million licensed vehicles in the UK, just over 100,000 have been purchased with help from a government plug-in car grant.
The speed of adoption has been slowed by a number of factors, including the perceived cost of electric vehicles, according to Dr Ben Lane, a director at charging-point company Zap-Map.
However, the perception of their expense is not always accurate, Dr Lane told Sky News, as the relative newness of most of the electric car models made their price seem higher than other vehicles.
The availability of second-hand electric cars is making them more affordable.
The distance electric cars are able to travel on a single battery charge has also discouraged consumers, as has the availability of charging points and the speed of recharging.
Dr Lane said he “strongly welcomed” the Government’s proposed law.
“Together with more open access, it’s exactly what the market needs and electric vehicle drivers will welcome this development,” he said.
Registrations of electric vehicles are increasing, with 13,800 being registered in the first quarter of 2017, a 17% rise on the same period the year before.
Plans to fund the additional electric charging points have not yet been announced, although the Government said it was committed to spending £600m during this Parliament to support the ultra-low emissions market.
The new law also aims to support British manufacturing and innovation by allowing self-driving cars to operate in the country.
Earlier this year, tests of electric self-driving cars by manufacturer Nissan took place on public roads in London.
Official research has indicated the market for automated vehicles in the UK could be worth £28bn by 2035.
This would be supported by making it compulsory for motor vehicle insurance to cover automated vehicles so that compensation claims can be paid quickly in the event of any accidents.