The electrification of road transport will only result in a 10 per cent increase in demand for electricity by 2050, according to a government minister.

Richard Harrington told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) select committee that National Grid had expressed confidence about the ability of the power networks to cope with the mass switch over, at the recent first meeting of the government’s electric vehicle (EV) task force.

The junior business minister, giving evidence yesterday to the committee as part of its ongoing inquiry into EVs, said: “We are not going to find sudden power surges and that the Grid can’t cope.”

The 10 per cent increase factored in the assumption that EVs will dominate the motor market by the middle of the century.

Denying that he was being ‘complacent’, Harrington said the predicted upsurge would merely restore demand to levels seen before its drop in recent years.

He said the UK did not require a special policy to cope with the resulting increase in demand for power from EVs, adding that he was confident that low carbon power would be able to pick up the additional demand in generating capacity.

However Richard Bruce director of energy, technology and innovation at the Department for Transport, sparked confusion after he told the committee it is ‘possible’ that some petrol and diesel engine cars and vans may still be for sale by 2040.

The statement by the senior official, who was also being cross-examined by the committee, contradicted the government’s commitment last summer to phase out the sale of such vehicles by the end of the 2030s.

But Bruce said that rising international standards meant that many car companies would no longer even be manufacturing diesel and petrol vehicles by then.

Bruce also said that there had been an increase in the uptake of grants for installing charging points by local authorities.

He said that the UK already had ‘one of the best public infrastructures in Europe’ for charging points with around 12,000 already installed, including 400 in the last 30 days alone.

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