Extreme concerns from motorist groups following government decision to ban petrol and diesel by 2035
Established motorist groups are extremely concerned by the government's plans to ban petrol and diesel car sales by 2035.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, today launched the UN climate conference where he set out the UK’s response to climate change. The PM announced plans to end the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles by 2035 or earlier.
However, motorist groups have reacted with shock, especially about the decision to ban hybrid vehicles, whilst the electric vehicle infrastructure remains costly and in its infancy.
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 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.”
A spokesperson from the Alliance of British Drivers, said: “There is also no certainty that by 2035 there will be vehicles available that provide sufficient range, or an adequate network of electric charging points that drivers can rely upon. It will also require a major expansion of the electricity grid and generating capacity to cope with the increased demand. All these changes will impose enormous costs on drivers and the economy, and threaten the very existence of the motor manufacturing industry.
“Hybrid vehicles are a good compromise solution to meet the concerns of drivers and ensure that they transition to lower emission vehicles in due course, but this change might actually deter people from buying them. Bringing in tougher regulations might simply ensure that vehicle owners keep their old petrol/diesel vehicles for longer rather than replacing them with new ones, with the unintended consequence that emissions will not fall.
“These proposals are part of the Government's plans to achieve a net-zero carbon target by 2050 which will impose enormous costs on the economy and have no impact on the worldwide emissions. The UK is already a very small part of worldwide emissions and unless major nations such as China and the USA cease using coal in power stations, when they are currently building more of them, there will be negligible impact.
“This latest announcement is just another example of "gesture politics" that may kowtow to the whims of environmental enthusiasts in the UK but will in reality have negligible impact apart from inconveniencing the general public and costing everyone a great deal of money.”