UK Brings Forward ICE Ban to 2035

The UK government is bringing forward by five years proposals to ban the sale of all new ICE powered vehicles, including hybrids and PHEVs.

It had previously agreed an end to new ICE vehicles by 2040 but is reported to have changed its mind in response to growing alarm that the planet is danger of accelerating global warming and that the country is unlikely to reach its carbon emission target of 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. The new target of 2035 is expected to be unveiled when the United Nation’s climate summit COP26 is held in Glasgow in November.

However, the danger facing consumers is that infrastructure for battery charging and fuel cell providers of hydrogen, currently non-existent in many areas of the nation, will have to be sufficiently plentiful to persuade new car buyers. If it is not, the threat remains that many will hold on to their aging ICE vehicles which remain cheap to maintain as long-term transport solutions especially compared to the limited lifecycle of lithium-ion battery packs in BEVs.

Warnings of the effect this could have on the country’s automotive industry were immediately raised by the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT). Its chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “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.”

Nonetheless, some climate lobbyists and road safety campaigners have welcomed the move. UK road safety charity, Brake, says the move as a step in the right direction to creating safe and healthy streets.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake said: “People should be free to move in a safe and healthy way on every journey and this includes ensuring the air they breathe isn’t polluted. Banning petrol and diesel cars will go a long way to tackling poor air quality but we also need to encourage more people to leave their car at home and walk, cycle or use other means of active travel to get around.

“Less car use and more people travelling actively can have hugely positive health benefits, alongside lowering emissions and reducing the danger people face from cars. Yet people are often deterred from walking or cycling by the danger on our roads and the risk of exposure to excessive pollution. Alongside removing the roads biggest polluters we must take the opportunity to redesign our cities so that people can live and travel in a safe and healthy environment, free from harm from traffic and pollution.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *