UK motorcycle manufacturers call on minister for proportional and technology-neutral approach to phase out.
The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) and its major UK manufacturing members today met with Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP to discuss the Government’s plans for phasing out mopeds and motorcycles by 2035. Rider representative groups, such as the National Motorcyclists Council, were also present.
Manufacturers put forward several key considerations deemed essential for a successful and balanced transition if harm to the sector is to be avoided:
- Environmental Contribution: Manufacturers recognised their economic and job creation contributions, while acknowledging their minimal impact on total UK domestic transport emissions, accounting for only 0.4% of the total. The phase out dates for the industry should be proportionate to its emissions, miles travelled, and the urban mobility benefits it provides.
- Complex vehicles and unique challenges: Unlike the automotive sector, the motorcycle industry deals with complex vehicles that require a bespoke approach, similar to aviation and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). Transitioning to zero emissions presents numerous technical, architectural, and safety challenges that need to be addressed comprehensively.
- Cost and commercial viability: Large capacity electric powered two-wheelers (EPTWs) face a significant price point hurdle due to supply chain development, making them commercially unviable for both manufacturers and consumers. All technologies, including electric, should be equally supported, as electric solutions have proven effective for lower powered L-Category vehicles, but not for high-powered ones.
- Technology-neutral approach: Manufacturers advocated for a technology-neutral approach that considers clean and synthetic fuels alongside battery technology and alternative fuels. It is crucial to allow time for battery technology and alternative fuels to catch up before committing to an outcome that may adversely affect the economy and the market.
- Potential market impact: The current Government proposals risk major manufacturers reassessing their position in the UK market, particularly if the Government does not align phase out dates with international manufacturing and regulation developments. Imposing separate regulations could diminish the attractiveness of the UK market due to its smaller size, leading to prioritisation of larger markets at a time when the Government is seeking to secure UK investment.
- Need for developed technology: While supporting the transition to zero emissions, manufacturers emphasised the importance of fully developed technology. Before committing to investments in new technology, the industry requires guarantees from the Government regarding the availability of necessary infrastructure and the implementation of policies that drive demand and improve access to the sector.
MCIA’s CEO, Tony Campbell, said:
“We were grateful for the recognition our sector received for its important role in shaping the future of transportation. The Minister showed genuine interest in our concerns and actively participated in the discussion. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with officials to ensure the right decisions are made on phase out and that the Government fully harnesses the potential of our vehicles for the benefit of everyone.”
The MCIA and its members are committed to a zero emission future but this must be premised on a proportional and technology-neutral approach. We urge the Government to consider the unique challenges faced by the industry and allow time for technology development, enabling informed decision-making based on factual evidence, not what the Government hopes might be the case.