The last date to buy a new petrol or diesel vehicle in the UK will be brought forward from 2040 to 2035 under government plans – and this will include hybrid cars.
The change is being made to help Britain achieve virtually zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century.
The policy will be unveiled at an event to launch Glasgow’s hosting of a United Nations climate summit in November.
The prime minister will say the government plans will bring an end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars even earlier than 2035, if possible.
Hybrid cars are also now being included; the proposals were originally announced in July 2017.
The change, which will be subject to a consultation, is being planned because experts warned the previous target date of 2040 would still leave old conventional cars on the roads after the clean-up date of 2050.
COP26 is this year’s meeting of the annual UN-led gathering set up to assess progress on tackling climate change.
Green Car Guide has been promoting electric vehicles since 2006; the challenge now is how to get all of the UK’s new car buyers to choose electric over the course of the next 15 years. The new zero percent Benefit in Kind rate for pure EVs from April 2020 will certainly help with encouraging the uptake of company cars, but will the government extend the plug-in car grant or other incentives for private motorists?
Lots of new electric cars are coming in 2020 – however the car industry still has a lot of work to do to ramp up from a very small percentage of its vehicles being electric to 100% being electric, and as the UK is due to leave the EU, it will be interesting to see if manufacturers keep all of their models on sale in this country. And what is the government’s strategy to encourage the manufacture of electric cars in the UK post-Brexit? Surely this is a huge opportunity, but the government was very quiet about car manufacturing in the UK during the election campaign.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive comments: “It’s extremely concerning that government has seemingly moved the goalposts for consumers and industry on such a critical issue. Manufacturers are fully invested in a zero emissions future, with some 60 plug-in models now on the market and 34 more coming in 2020. However, with current demand for this still expensive technology still just a fraction of sales, it’s clear that accelerating an already very challenging ambition will take more than industry investment. This is about market transformation, yet we still don’t have clarity on the future of the plug-in car grant – the most significant driver of EV uptake – which ends in just 60 days’ time, while the UK’s charging network is still woefully inadequate.
“If the UK is to lead the global zero emissions agenda, we need a competitive marketplace and a competitive business environment to encourage manufacturers to sell and build here. A date without a plan will merely destroy value today. So we therefore need to hear how government plans to fulfil its ambitions in a sustainable way, one that safeguards industry and jobs, allows people from all income groups and regions to adapt and benefit, and, crucially, does not undermine sales of today’s low emission technologies, including popular hybrids, all of which are essential to deliver air quality and climate change goals now.”
LowCVP Managing Director Andy Eastlake says: “We welcome the Government’s proposals to bring forward the target for the ending of the sale of IC-engine cars from 2040 to 2035. The target will be challenging for industry and drivers, but if we are to meet the 2050 net zero commitment we must raise our level of ambition in road transport.
“The intent from Government is to give some real clarity on this target and to really gather the widest views before responding in the summer
“With this in mind, we believe that in this proposal ‘zero means zero’; the desire is for all new cars and vans to emit nothing under all circumstances as soon as feasible. The timing is what we need to pin down. Clearly this will present a number of challenges, but also opportunities.”
“Latest information on the fall in battery prices points to electric vehicles achieving price parity with conventional cars within the next five years. But there are already very significant fuel and other cost savings for EV drivers so switching is already a good financial proposition for many.
“In simple terms for the typical driver the aim is that your next car should have a plug, and the one after that should have no engine!
“However, there’s a big job to be done; by the manufacturers in switching over production facilities over a short timescale and by organisations like LowCVP and others in making sure drivers, the energy system and key market players are fully prepared for the electric transition.
“This shortened target will heighten ambition and focus minds to meet the challenges ahead.”
On the issue of charge points. Green Car Guide has been campaigning for years for user-friendly access for all motorists to public charge points – ie. any driver should be able to turn up at a charge point and charge without barriers of membership cards/apps etc.
Chris Burghardt, Managing Director of Europe at ChargePoint, the world’s largest electric vehicle charge network, adds: “Increasing the adoption of electric vehicles is critical in the fight against climate change and we are glad that the UK government is opening a consultation on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2035, as well as including hybrids in this for the first time. The UK government is making continuous steps in the right direction with increased investment in on-street electric car charging and now this proposal. However, we need to ensure this proposal is supported with correct infrastructure. For the expansion of the network to make a real shift forward, the government needs to continue to focus on helping workplaces electrify in a cost effective manner and quickly. It should also provide support to ensure the UK’s rapid charging network can expand further into major cities and rural communities.”
Article in the process of being updated.
From the BBC: