No-deal Brexit would add almost £3k to cost of electric cars, SMMT warns

Tariffs would also increase the cost of exports, reducing demand.

Nissan Sunderland
Nissan Sunderland

Electric vehicles could become more expensive under a no-deal Brexit, cancelling out government incentives designed to tempt buyers into zero-emission vehicles.

That’s the warning from car industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which says World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs would add £2,800 to the cost of electric vehicles.

This would largely negate the government’s plug-in car grant, which sees electric vehicle buyers save £3,000 off the original price.

No deal tariffs infographic

SMMT data shows the 10 per cent no-deal WTO tariff would add at least £4.5 billion to the cost of cars traded between the UK and the EU, adding £1,900 per EU-built vehicle sold on these shores.

However, new analysis shows that extra costs would be added to electric vehicles because they have expensive battery technology.

Furthermore, these tariffs would add £2,000 to the cost of electric vehicles exported from the UK to the EU, which the SMMT warns could affect demand and make manufacturing investment less attractive.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Just as the automotive industry is accelerating the introduction of the latest electrified vehicles, it faces the double whammy of a coronavirus second wave and the possibility of leaving the EU without a deal.

“As these figures show, ‘no deal’ tariffs will put the brakes on the UK’s green recovery, hampering progress towards net zero and threatening the future of the UK industry.

“To secure a truly sustainable future, we need our government to underpin industry’s investment in electric vehicle technology by pursuing an ambitious trade deal that is free from tariffs, recognises the importance of batteries in future vehicle production and ensures consumers have choice in accessing the latest zero emission models. We urge all parties to re-engage in talks and reach agreement without delay.”

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