Ban on new petrol and diesel cars could be accelerated to 2030

02/10/2020

According to a report by The Guardian, The Department for Transport (DfT) is poised to bring forward a ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040 to 2030.

The DfT was expected to reveal its plans in September, with The Guardian citing sources within the transport and energy industry claims this has now been postponed to November due to the current focus on national measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Having completed a consultation on bringing forward the ban to 2035, the Government is now expected to take a more ambitious stance following assurances that the UK’s infrastructure will be ready to cope with the shift to electric cars.

The decision to end the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 would put the UK ahead of France, which has a 2040 ban in the pipeline, and in line with Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands. Norway will bring in a ban in 2025.

Christopher Burghardt, ChargePoint Europe managing director, welcomed a 2030 ban and said it would be essential for the Government's net zero ambitions.

Burghardt said: "Charging infrastructure in particular is a tremendous way to accelerate mass adoption of electric vehicles and will make it easier for the public to adopt more environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

"After a decade of investment in high power charging along highways, it is time to expand charging deployment across cities, in rural areas while updating existing buildings and make them “EV ready“ as home and work is where about 80-percent of charging happens.”

While many in the transport and fleet industry would welcome a decision to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) urges the Government to apply realistic timelines.

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett commented at the start of the Government’s consultation: “Of course we all want to tackle climate change, but it has to be done in a realistic and manageable way. Changing the UK’s car fleet to electric is one thing. For vans this is less clear cut because payloads and duty cycles are much more demanding.

“The changeover process for heavy goods vehicles is different again. The average price of a truck is approximately £85k. It will be many years before the industry develops an ‘alternative-fuelled’ truck that ticks haulier’s boxes but we, as the representative body for the sector are keen to work with the truck manufacturer’s development teams to ensure a smooth and cost-effective transition to alternative fuels.

“Vehicles are an expensive investment. If companies are to invest in cleaner vehicles the Government also needs to reassure buyers that they will be able to use them for a reasonable lifespan – at least 12 years for lorries.”

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has previously said that bringing forward the ban to 2030 would leave insufficient time for transition.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "While we applaud the ambition, such a challenging timescale would be insufficient for the industry to transition, threatening the viability of thousands of businesses while undermining sales of today’s low emission technologies.

"Rather than safeguarding jobs and supporting the industry, pulling forward the phase-out date too much could have a devastating impact on the UK automotive industry which continues to invest heavily in both the supply and manufacture of low and zero emission technologies."

The SMMT does not want plug-in hybrids to be included in any earlier ban, with Hawes stating that hybrid technology will be critical to the transition to fossil fuel free motoring and they will be an "essential stepping stone" for many drivers to a fully electric vehicle.

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