Is an ICE ban really the will of the people?

Last month, Autocar published its response to the UK government’s call for public views on its proposed 2035 ban on the sale of new cars powered only by an internal combustion engine (ICE). While this is undoubtedly a transition that the country must make posthaste, the plan for achieving it struck us as rather poorly thought through.

We also encouraged you to submit your own views, so here we summarise some readers’ manifestos for Britain’s entry into the age of electrification.

George Koopman, Devon

● Battery production is far from carbon-neutral. This must be honestly quantified, and we must make certain that global demand can be met by 2035.

● Battery disposal on the scale necessitated by an all-electric fleet will produce vast recycling problems. To suggest old batteries can all be used for static storage is disingenuous. We need realistic proposals.

● Until there are adequate charging facilities for all EVs, plug-in hybrids must not only be allowed to continue but also not be penalised.

● The proposed ban should be phased: firstly in large urban areas and then in less densely populated areas.

● Hydrogen fuel cell EVs are likely to be a better long-term solution than battery EVs. Thus incentives must encourage production of hydrogen using renewable energy.

● Total honesty is required as to how the near-£40 billion currently raised annually through fuel duty, VAT and VED will be replaced.

Richard Smith, Cheshire

● There doesn’t need to be an ICE ban. When the economics work and there’s sufficient infrastructure, people will buy EVs. The government should concentrate on setting standards and ensuring the infrastructure is in place.

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● Plan for the environmentally safe conversion of filling stations to charging stations.

● Plan to generate sufficient clean electricity to meet EV charging demand spikes.

● Ensure fair charging pricing and congestion charging so that urban areas don’t become accessible only to the wealthy.

Graham King, Yorkshire

● Arbitrarily decreeing that a certain technology must be used from an arbitrary date is short-sighted.

● Relying on battery power alone is unviable for much of the passenger and freight transport industries. Hydrogen power is viable but many years away from being cost-effective. It’s therefore vital that ICE remains an option, either in hybrid form or using synthetic fuels, and that operators of older diesels aren’t penalised.

● I’m concerned that any ICE ban will come in conjunction with penalties for users of pre-Euro 6 cars, which would grossly penalise people on low incomes.

● The government should work in close co-operation with manufacturers, engineers, suppliers, experts and vehicle users of all kinds before announcing any ban.

● The UK is a relatively small market for most car makers. If an ICE ban occurs here sooner than in other countries, many are therefore likely to simply withdraw, limiting consumer choice and increasing prices.