SMMT Foresees £66 Billion UK Windfall by 2040 via Electrified Autonomous Vehicle Revolution
The United Kingdom stands on the cusp of a remarkable transformation, one that could usher in a £66 billion annual windfall by 2040, driven by the widespread adoption of driverless electric vehicles. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has boldly proclaimed this potential economic boon, emphasizing the profound socio-economic advantages that could be realized if we embrace connected and automated mobility (CAM) technology on a massive scale.
In a sweeping vision of the future, CAM encompasses many possibilities, ranging from self-driving cars and logistics vehicles to automated buses, taxis, shuttles, and even tractors. Especially crucial is that CAM aligns with the UK government's green transport policies, including the ambitious Zero Emission Vehicle mandate. This mandate dictates that by 2035, 80 percent of new cars sold in the UK must be zero-emission, rising to 100 percent by 2040.
Mike Hawes, the CEO of SMMT, envisions a future where fully autonomous road journeys become a reality. He acknowledges that while there are challenges to overcome, advances in CAM technology make these journeys a tantalizing possibility. He underscores the urgency for the government and all stakeholders to collaborate and establish the necessary framework to enable this transformative revolution swiftly and effectively.
The potential benefits are staggering, with the promise of saving lives, reducing costs, and mitigating environmental impact. Failure to act decisively could leave the UK lagging, compromising our competitiveness and hindering growth and job creation.
Already, significant public and private investments exceeding £600 million have been dedicated to CAM testing since 2015. The report contends that the government and industry must now unite to chart a course for the safe and responsible deployment of this technology across passenger cars, services, and commercial and industrial vehicles.
Within these markets, on-road logistics emerges as a potential giant, with a projected annual revenue of £15.2 billion by 2040, driven by the widespread adoption of CAM technology. Similarly, deploying CAM tech in on-road passenger services, including buses, taxis, and ride-hailing, could yield an annual revenue of £3.7 billion. Even off-road logistics, encompassing vehicles used in warehouses, ports, and airports, could contribute a substantial £2.3 billion annually by 2040.
This report, underpinned by a study from KPMG and funded by Innovate UK with support from the Automotive Council and Zenzic, not only positions the UK as a global leader in next-generation technology but also promises to create an additional 342,000 jobs by 2040, including 12,250 in auto manufacturing alone. It holds out the hope of saving 3,900 lives and preventing 60,000 severe accidents over the same period, all while potentially reducing insurance premiums and enhancing travel freedom for individuals with disabilities.
Adrian Hallmark, Automotive Council UK's joint chair and the CEO of Bentley Motors, said the deployment of CAM offered a "once in a generation economic, societal and environmental opportunity for the UK."
"It has the potential to boost the whole transport sector, creating new supply chains, manufacturing and deployment opportunities," he said. "It could also help transform road safety, enable accessible transport, and deliver reduced energy consumption for environmental benefit through smoother, more efficient driving. The automotive sector is ready to build this exciting transport future and to deliver tangible benefits for the UK."
The path ahead is clear, and the potential is immense. The UK has the opportunity to embrace CAM technology and lead the charge into a future defined by innovation, economic prosperity, and a safer, more sustainable transportation landscape. It is a vision worth pursuing with unwavering commitment.