It turns out that government grants don't work that well.
Kia has been one of the leading manufacturers in the race to electrification, and has voiced a strong commitment to ending combustion engine development. The Korean manufacturer already has two EV models on offer in the US: the Kia EV6, and the Niro EV, and has just launched the new 2023 Kia Sportage Plug-In Hybrid. As the company ramps up its EV sales and general global conquest, Kia UK boss Paul Philpott is asking the UK government to start moving away from giving grants to EV buyers, and investing more funds in the nation's charging network. Philpott has noted that three of Kia's EV products fall under the £32,000 grant threshold, but noted that this incentive has not affected demand in the slightest.
"The barriers are coming down," Philpott said. "I don't think range anxiety is a big thing any more. What I do think people have is charging anxiety, and that's where the focus needs to be. There has to be absolute confidence in the charging infrastructure. And it's why government policy has to move away from grants to entice people to buy an EV to real tangible investment in the infrastructure that every customer across the UK can feel confident with."
Currently, the Kia e-Niro is the UK's best-selling electric vehicle and the new EV6 is currently selling at more than double the demand Kia was expecting.
The need for an expanded charging network isn't only growing in the UK, but the US market is also asking for more charging stations nationwide. Late last year GM announced that it would be investing in over 40,000 community-based Level 2 charging stations and new smart EV supply equipment. The federal government is also planning on spending big on the national EV infrastructure, and President Joe Biden plans on replacing over 600,000 federal vehicles with EVs by 2025. Industry leaders such as Tesla, which operates the largest charging network of them all, has started opening up its stations to other brands. If the future is to be electric, then we can't look past the importance of infrastructure.