Ford of Britain chairman Graham Hoare wants clarity from the government.
Hoare called for incentives for both purchasing and using zero emissions vehicles, clear developments in infrastructure and energy generation, and clear options of vehicle choices for personal and business use.
Norway's zero emissions vehicle incentives were cited in the discussion, which was during a Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) online summit.
In Norway, buyers of zero emissions vehicles have benefited from tax free vehicle purchases, the use of bus lanes, and cheaper toll, parking, and ferry fees. What's more, Norway's EV charging network is also six-times higher than Britain's.
"A successful future for the auto industry is dependent on achieving our longer-term objective of a zero emissions future – that is definitely the path we are on at Ford," said Hoare. "However, we should be under no illusion that reaching this goal will require an unparalleled level of commitment and cooperation by a range of different stakeholders – government departments, local authorities, the auto industry, energy providers, and customers.
"We need government to partner with us and have joint equity in formulating and delivering a comprehensive and consistent strategy that encompasses all stakeholders and that provides a path to the future – a path that also encompasses a range of technologies, including mild hybrids, hybrids and plug-in hybrids on the route to zero emissions.
"Given the size and scale of what we want to achieve in the UK, we will not see a shift from the internal combustion engine to all-electric vehicles in a single jump. Customer confidence is not ready for leap yet, and the cost gap between petrol or diesel and all-electric vehicles is still significant.
"This is why a range of bridging technologies from mild hybrids through to plug-in hybrids are essential, and why plug-in hybrids also should be considered as a viable technology well into the 2030s.
"We’ve seen recently at Ford what can be achieved when different stakeholders come together with a common purpose, namely working in partnership with a wide range of different partners in the VentilatorChallengeUK building ventilators for the NHS.
"We need a similar spirit of endeavour if we are to meet the electrification challenge – not a ‘can do’ attitude but a ‘will do’ determination. But time is short, and we must start today because tomorrow will be too late."