The timeline on banning the sale of new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars in the UK will be brought forward after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced earlier today that he would bring the legislation forward by five years.
This decision follows concerns from experts who have said the original 2040 ban would be too late for the UK if it wanted to reach its zero-carbon targets by 2050.
Tom Pakenham, Director of Electric Vehicles at OVO, was excited by the announcement, saying that it represented the environmental focus of the UK and speed up EV adoption rates.
“The UK is uniquely placed to lead the world in the electrification of transport and bolster renewable energy generation through electric vehicle (EV) adoption. The move to bring forward the ban on petrol and diesel engines indicates how the government is serious in doing just that,” said Tom Pakenham, Director of Electric Vehicles at OVO. “The new 2035 deadline will accelerate the supply and uptake of electric vehicles, but also give enterprises and the grid enough time to create the solutions needed to effectively manage them.”
However, not everyone in the industry was happy about this. Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, was concerned about the lack of clarity within the automotive sector and the current demand for electric vehicles.
“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.”
He also added that a date without a plan will merely destroy value today, calling for more information on how the 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.”