The impact – and then often despair – that surprise regulatory announcements have on those running car companies was laid bare earlier this month by Ford Model E COO Marin Gjaja. 

While he was in the air from Dearborn, US, to Slovenia for the launch of the new Ford Explorer, the European Commission announced plans to impose tariffs on Chinese electric cars, and less than 48 hours later the Labour party, widely expected to win the UK general election on 4 July, announced it would bring back a ban on the sale of non-electric cars by 2030.

"We make 15-year capital bets and we're sitting here with profound changes made in the last 48 hours,” Gjaja told me. “Now you have to look at all your business cases, all the investments you're making, and adjust what your expectations are.

"It becomes very difficult, and I think that level of uncertainty is the fundamental challenge all players have in the market now."

While on the Explorer launch, Gjaja said he was in touch with Ford's government relations team to try and find out more about Labour's announcement and Ford would plan accordingly. Ultimately, it was warmly received by Ford's UK boss, Lisa Brankin.

Constantly changing regulations, he said, lead to "inherent risk, and the risk of our business has gone up" as legislators flip-flop around the transition to electric cars.

Gjaja cites Norway as a good example of how to manage the transition to electric cars by not incentivising the new technology but rather penalising the existing one. 

Incentives cause "huge swings in consumer appetite, depending on the level of the subsidy, which can be eliminated fairly abruptly". They cause the market to "bounce up and down".

Rather than constantly run scenarios and plans based on the latest legislative flip-flopping, car makers should be left to focus on "creating products that get people excited about what EVs can do" to ensure that behavioural change can happen towards EVs.

"The key thing we need is to get customers into the vehicle and drive to experience them. Once we have them in and they own it, they won't go back," said Gjaja.

He senses further legislative disruption might be ahead with the onset of range-extender (REx) powertrains. which use a generator to support the battery that drives the wheels – something that's quickly gaining popularity in China, the world's largest car market. However, as they produce CO2 emissions, they would be banned in the UK and the EU in the 2030s, as things stand.