The UK government has reaffirmed its commitment to ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, with a caveat that plug-in hybrid cars with “significant zero emissions capability” can be sold until 2035. That target date realigned is ten years. earlier than originally revealed in 2018, and is part of a sweeping 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution designed to create 250,000 jobs backed by a £12billion investment package.
The move advances his plan to reduce the UK’s contribution to climate change following significant global push for decarbonisation, with this renewed urgency coming on the back of alarming climate change projections.
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This announcement will coincide with a £4 billion investment in charging infrastructure and battery production in the UK to support increased sales of electric vehicles, as well as over £500 million made available to encourage people to switch to electric and hydrogen vehicles.
A statement released by the government said: “After extensive consultation with car manufacturers and sellers, the Prime Minister has confirmed that the UK will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, ten years earlier than expected. However, we will allow the sale of hybrid cars capable of driving a significant distance without emitting carbon until 2035.”
To support his plans, the Prime Minister confirmed a number of measures, including:
- £1.3billion to accelerate the rollout of electric vehicle charging stations in homes, streets and on motorways across England, so people can charge their cars more easily and easily.
- £582million in grants for those who buy zero or ultra-low emission vehicles to make them cheaper to buy and entice more people to make the switch.
- Almost £500m will be spent over the next four years on the development and large-scale production of electric vehicle batteries, as part of our commitment to supply up to £1bn, boosting international investment in manufacturing bases, particularly in the Midlands and the North. East.
What happens to existing ICE cars?
While the sale of petrol and diesel-powered cars will be banned, owners will still be able to use ICE cars, with no timetable or strategy in place to remove cars sold by the deadline from UK roads.
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The government announcement, however, does not take into account the research and development currently being undertaken by a number of manufacturers on synthetic fuels, which could be a lifeline for some ICE vehicles, especially performance cars.
OEMs are also starting to push back for holes in UK and European policies, not making the case for lower emissions, instead pointing to the fact that most cars on the road in 2030 will still use engines internal combustion.
Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of BMW, urged Europe and the UK not to “put in place a policy that puts an end to the combustion engine”. He then urged the UK government to review its strategy for selling combustion engines from 2030.
His reasoning is that electrification is not the solution for all, that hydrogen and e-fuels should both be considered alternatives to fossil fuels, and that electrification does not provide a solution for the 280 million cars currently in circulation. “If you want to do something about climate change, allow e-fuels. That’s the only strategy to tackle the existing fleet, which is a much bigger problem than new car sales. Hydrogen is the only possibility [for some] drive without emissions.
What legislation is coming in the meantime?
These latest UK Government plans are in line with those of other European countries which have announced plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel engine cars, but until then increasingly stringent emissions regulations will be imposed and will have a very limited lifespan. given the investment required by manufacturers to meet them.
Luca de Meo and Carlos Tavares, CEOs of Renault and Stellantis respectively, have called for a rethink of the upcoming Euro 7 emissions legislation for petrol and diesel vehicles, arguing that the investment needed to reach the proposed levels would cost billions and millions. would have a marginal impact. impact on the reduction of greenhouse gases. “Why are we diverting scarce resources to regulations that will only last a few years? asked Tavares.
Renault and Stellantis’ arguments revolve around their all-electric strategies, with those plans delayed if there is a need to invest (up to €1 billion) in what they clearly consider to be old technology. .
The elephant in the room around reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the auto industry has always been what to do with existing cars and those for which an electric vehicle is simply not a viable option. While some have been groomed to be part of this conversation, only now are those who need to be heard beginning to speak up.
And while it’s undeniable that addiction to ICE vehicles needs to be addressed, a blanket ban on ICE car sales isn’t quite the nuanced and thoughtful solution to the broader challenge of decarbonizing personal mobility. and commercial.
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