2030: End of the new ICE Age 18 | 11 | 2020

    SALES OF NEW petrol and diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2030, 10 years before the original date of 2040.  The move is aimed at cut the UK’s emissions and air pollution. Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the plans as he set out a 10-point environmental plan for a “green industrial revolution”. A consultation is also to be launched on phasing out diesel HGVs. (Related: Exclusive first drive of Mazda's all-electric MX-30)

    The latest announcement goes a step further and brings the UK in line with several other countries, including Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. Only Norway has a more ambitious target, of 2025. (Related: New bold look for Hyundai Electric Kona)

    In the UK there are approximately 31.8 million cars on the road, (based on 2019 data). Of these, around 18.8 million are petrol-powered, around 12.3 million are fuelled by diesel, and 513,000 are conventional hybrids.

    At the end of last year, pure EVs accounted for just 89,500 of these cars. That number has now roughly doubled. Last year’s sales figures saw 2.3 million cars sold. Of these, 6.3% were pure EVs or plug-in hybrids. (Related: BMW reveals iX all-electric flagship)


    Hybrids will also be banned from 2030 unless they are capable of covering a "significant distance" in zero-emission mode. Confusingly, no clarification has been provided on what counts as "significant" zero-emission range.

    Thankfully, a move which will certainly help the transition is the fact plug-in hybrids will remain in showrooms until 2035. There is slight confusion given that some sources have said the Government will consider allowing conventional hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, to remain on-sale until 2035. (Related: Tesla updates Model 3)

    What we do know is that after 2035, the only new cars and vans that can be sold will be pure electric ones. hydrogen-powered vehicles will also be allowed to be sold.

    It’s important to stress that sales of second-hand petrol and diesel cars, plus conventional hybrids — all of which will be without "significant" zero-emission capability — will be unaffected by the ban after 2030.


    In the announcement, the Prime Minister also committed £1.3 billion towards EV charging points for homes, streets and motorways across England. In addition, a further £582 million is being set aside for grants to help people into EVs and PHEVs; this most likely will see the £3000 grant, which is taken off the manufacturers’ RRP of an electric or plug-in hybrid, continue.

    The Government will also invest £500 million in battery development and mass production, while a further £525 million is earmarked for the nuclear power plants, partly to help meet the demand for electricity the growing number of EVs will bring. (Related: BMW iX3 all-electric SUV)

    “Although this year has taken a very different path to the one we expected, I haven’t lost sight of our ambitious plans to level up across the country,” Johnson said. “My Ten Point Plan will create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050.


    “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.” (Related: VW reveals 341-mile range ID.3)

    The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders previously called an acceleration of the 2040 ban “extremely concerning”, adding that “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.”



    As you might expect, industry leaders have given the 2030 plans a cautious welcome. And while many observers have praised efforts to cut pollution, they have also warned that the Government faces challenges around infrastructure, pricing and public perception of electric cars.


    Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT): “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. (Related: Mini Electric has 124-mile range)

    “Success will depend on reassuring consumers that they can afford these new technologies, that they will deliver their mobility needs and, critically, that they can recharge as easily as they refuel. For that, we look to others to step up and match our commitment. We will now work with government on the detail of this plan, which must be delivered at pace to achieve a rapid transition that benefits all of society, and safeguards UK automotive manufacturing and jobs.”


    AA president Edmund King: "Everyone wants to move to electric vehicles but you can't just pick a date out of the air. We need better infrastructure particularly for the third of people who can't charge at home. We also need a better supply of cars and they need to be affordable." (Related: VW unveils portable EV charging station)


    RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes: “Production lines that for decades have been set up to build cars powered with internal combustion engines will have to be transformed to allow manufacturers to profitably build a wider range of EV models in sufficient quantities. Meanwhile the country’s public charging network will need to grow exponentially to cater for the surge in EVs on the road.

    “There’s also lots for consumers to get used to in order for them to feel confident about going electric. Running an EV is currently very different to a petrol or diesel car which can be refuelled in a matter of minutes, so those switching in the next few years face a big learning curve which involves different types of chargers, connectors and varying charging speeds. (Related: Updated Jaguar F-Pace gets PHEV)

    “But for the time being the biggest barrier to going electric remains the comparatively high upfront vehicle cost, so we hope the Government’s announcement will pave the way to lower list prices, thereby accelerating take-up. This in turn will help lead to EVs being more readily available on the second-hand market which is where the majority of people choose to buy their vehicles."


    Chris Burghardt, managing director in Europe, for charging network ChargePoint: “Not only do we need to ensure that this date is feasible, but also remember that to fight against climate change, we need electric transport to be the option of choice from now not 2030.

    “As such, the UK government needs to support this ban with a package of consistent incentives, support and consumer information which demonstrates to consumers which vehicles they should be investing in should they want to purchase a new car from today onwards. (Related: New Volvo XC40 Recharge PHEV T4)

    “Wider infrastructure is another point of discussion; creating a robust, easy-to-use and cost effective network of electric vehicle charging points needs to be high on the government's agenda alongside this ban.”


    Related: Scots face 2032 petrol/diesel cut-off

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    Jim McGill


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