The Prime Minister’s confirmation that the UK will implement a 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars – but with some hybrids on sale until 2035 – continues to draw strong responses from across the fleet sector.
The PM announced last night in a column for the FT that the current 2040 target to end fossil fuel car and van sales will be brought forwards by a decade as part of a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’. While hybrid cars and vans had been expected to be included, Johnson said that new registrations of models “that can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe” will be allowed until 2035. The Department for Transport later clarified that this could mean both plug-in hybrids and full hybrids, and this will be defined through consultation.
The plans will be supported by an investment of more than £2.8bn in electric vehicles, “lacing the land with charging points and creating long-lasting batteries in UK gigafactories”. This has since been revealed to include £1.3bn to accelerate the rollout of charge points, £582m in grants for those buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles and nearly £500m to be spent in the next four years for UK battery manufacture, including in the Midlands and North East; part of a commitment to provide up to £1bn.
The news has been welcomed by many organisations, including the BVRLA, which greeted the decision to adopt a phased approach but warned that setting dates is only the start of the process.
Chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “Now the Government needs to create the supportive environment that will enable fleets and motorists to step up to the challenge of decarbonising road transport. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be cheap.”
The BVRLA also set out three support areas that the Government must focus on: tax incentives and grants, keeping the UK as an attractive market for OEMs to sell their products and a comprehensive strategy on charging infrastructure.
Octopus Electric Vehicles also welcomed the news, which it said will fast-track the electric vehicle revolution and clean up the air of our cities.
CEO Fiona Howarth said: “It’s an important signal to the market that the UK will no longer welcome dirty diesels and petrol cars from 2030 – in turn, creating thousands of green jobs while saving motorists billions of pounds, and showing the UK’s leadership position in our low carbon future.
“Drivers don’t have to wait until 2030 to go electric – the cars, 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.
“Many drivers are already realising this, leading to a surge in electric vehicle sales – up 169% in 2020 despite Covid. With some customers having to wait more than six months for their electric cars due to a current shortage, this ban date will let manufacturers know that they need to keep up if they want to sell into the biggest car market in Europe.”
And with a decade to go until the ban takes effect, Nissan said its EV owners are already celebrating their own decade of change with the Leaf; unveiled in 2010 and first on sale in the UK a year later.
Over half a million Leaf have been sold worldwide, with the 500,000th model rolling off the UK production line in Sunderland in September this year.
A Nissan spokesperson said: “Our success with the British-built Leaf shows just how quickly customers embrace electric vehicles once they’ve experienced them.
“No more shivering in a cold petrol station to refuel your vehicle on a Friday evening in the rain – just drive home and plug in overnight. Once you experience these little pleasures of EV ownership, you won’t want to go back.”
Today, 92% of European Leaf drivers say they would recommend driving an electric vehicle to family and friends.