EV strategy: rapid recharge needed Contents

Appendix 4: High level summary of engagement activity in this inquiry

Youth engagement programme, 2023–24

Six schools from across the UK were part of the Committee’s youth engagement programme this year.749

The schools are:

The schools will continue to work with the Committee until April 2024.

In October 2023, the Committee considered feedback schools had sent in response to several prompt questions related to the Electric Vehicles inquiry. There were several recurring themes across feedback from all the schools: they suggested that issues with and a lack of confidence in the EV charging infrastructure meant that those students whose families had purchased something other than a fossil fuel car had chosen hybrid cars instead of EVs. Many of the students had learned, were learning or planned to learn to drive, but thought that most EVs were currently too expensive to be a realistic option for them to purchase as a first car, and hoped that the second hand EV market would grow. They also noted that driving lessons may need to change to adapt to EVs. Some students noted that making more progress on decarbonising the grid would bolster the positive environmental impact of the transition. Many highlighted the need to improve public education and awareness about EVs, the transition and its benefits.

On 21 November, the Committee met with students from each of the six schools on the Youth Engagement Programme in meetings held via Microsoft Teams. In the meetings, the Committee Members asked students their thoughts on several key questions that had arisen during the inquiry thus far. Many of the students raised points related to the upfront cost of electric vehicles and a lack of reliable access to charging being the main barriers to adopting EVs—both for themselves as first-time prospective car owners, and for other consumers. Many expressed enthusiasm for the idea of owning an EV, but were more sceptical about whether they would be able to afford to buy one, or that the charging infrastructure would be sufficient even if they were able to purchase one

Participants said they could envisage a future where people didn’t use cars as much, but many were confident that cars would remain important for the independence and flexibility they provide, particularly in areas with limited or unreliable public transport. Many of the students suggested that access to charging varied regionally, both within and between their areas. Many suggested that while rural areas with minimal public transport provision would be particularly dependent on good charging infrastructure, there were equally significant challenges in cities and more densely populated areas where fewer residents have access to off-street parking.

Many students also suggested that questions to Ministers could emphasise concerns that pushing back the phase out date for the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles had sent an unhelpful message and undermined confidence in the transition. Some however, added that delaying the deadline gave the Government an opportunity to make progress on addressing the barriers to adoption. Many students said that the health benefits that come with the reduction of air pollution through EVs should be talked about much more.

749 For more information about the Youth Engagement Programme see: Environment and Climate Change Committee, ‘Applications open for schools to take part in the next youth engagement programme’ (19 May 2023): https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/515/environment-and-climate-change-committee/news/195308/applications-open-for-schools-to-take-part-in-the-next-youth-engagement-programme/.

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