The UK government has announced plans to accelerate the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, bringing it forward by five years to 2030, as part of its ‘green industrial revolution.’
UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: “Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future.”
He added that the government will “allow the sale of hybrid cars and vans that can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe until 2035.”
From fleet owners to parts manufacturers to the big automotive makers, the announcement will have a major impact on business. Here’s a range of opinions and statements from across the sector.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, issued this response: “We share government’s ambition for leadership in decarbonising road transport and are committed to the journey. Manufacturers have invested billions to deliver vehicles that are already helping thousands of drivers switch to zero, but this new deadline, fast-tracked by a decade, sets an immense challenge.”
BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said that the 2035 extension for hybrids would provide an “essential lifeline” for those facing a greater zero-emission challenge. However, he said that vehicle rental companies and van fleet operators would need “clarity on exactly what types of hybrid are in scope”.
Rob Fowler, CEO of Volta Trucks called on the ban to be extended to larger commercial vehicles. He said: “At Volta Trucks, we welcome the ban on sales of internal combustion engine cars and vans by 2030, and the ambitious plan to implement the world’s second most stringent timeline, after Norway.
“However, we are disappointed that there is no mention in the proposals for the ban to extend to large commercial vehicles. Legacy internal combustion engine trucks are a disproportionately large contributor to greenhouse gasses and air pollution that’s proven to be a significant contributor to many thousands of premature deaths every year in our major towns and cities, where air quality is at its worst.”
Fowler continued: “Governments and legislators need to take a holistic approach to the climate change emergency we face and remove all polluting vehicles from our roads. Commercial vehicles form the lifeblood of city centre commerce, so society needs goods vehicles, but it also needs good vehicles: vehicles that are zero emissions.
“I therefore call on the UK government to apply the same levels of decarbonisation ambition for commercial vehicles as has been announced with passenger cars and vans. As a company that is founded on the principle of accelerating change, the transition away from fossil fuels cannot come soon enough, to improve the air quality and environment for all of us.”
Meanwhile, Ian Johnston, chief executive officer of Osprey Charging – a UK EV charging group – said: “Today’s announcement is a truly watershed moment in the UK’s transition to cleaner transport. It sends a clear message to industry and the general public and that we must act now to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.”
Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles, commented: “Drivers don’t have to wait until 2030 to go electric – the vehicles, the charge points, and the affordable prices are here today. By switching now, drivers can save thousands in fuel, tax and maintenance costs, and make the most of generous government incentives that won’t be around forever, not to mention feel good about their impact on the planet.”