Official: Government to ban new petrol and diesel car sales in 2030

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the UK government is bringing forward its ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel-engined cars and vans from 2040 until 2030 – although some hybrids will be allowed until 2035.

The widely anticipated move was confirmed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a column he wrote for the Financial Times. The ban is part of a 10-point plan set out by the Prime Minister to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050.

Johnson wrote that the government will “invest more than £2.8 billion in electric vehicles, lacing the land with charging points and creating long-lasting batteries in UK gigafactories. This will allow us to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030.”

While that date is a full decade ahead of the initial 2040 date the government planned to ban sales of new combustion engined vehicles by, the government will allow certain hybrid cars and vans “that can drive a significant distance when no carbon coming out of the tailpipe” to be sold until 2035. While there is no clarification on what constitutes a “significant distance” yet, it is likely the regulations will allow plug-in hybrid cars, but not hybrid powertrains.

The £2.8 billion funding is likely to be split between spending on developing both public and private charging infrastructure, and through continuing the grants offered to buyers of zero or ultra-low emission vehicles.

A total of 75,946 new full electric cars have been sold in the UK so far in 2020, accounting for 5.5% of the total of 1,384,601. However, that represents a 168.7% year-on-year increase, with the market expanding rapidly as manufacturers are rapidly rolling out new EVs.

Given the likely growth, several manufacturers have already committed to ending pure combustion engines sales before 2030. Bentley recently announced that it would only sell full electric cars from 2030 onwards, while Volvo is committed to only offering electric or plug-in hybrid models from 2025 onwards.

Reaction to the 2030 ban

Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: “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.

“We are pleased, therefore, to see Government accept the importance of hybrid transition technologies – which drivers are already embracing as they deliver carbon savings now – and commit to additional spending on purchase incentives.”

Hawes added that the success of the government target would depend on EV drivers being able to “recharge as easily as they refuel”. He added: “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.”

Jaguar Land Rover, Britain’s biggest car manufacturer that produces the I-Pace EV, said: “At Jaguar Land Rover, we have already embraced the direction of the government’s announcement, investing heavily in fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles for a zero emissions future. Our award-winning I-Pace was the first premium all-electric SUV launched to global critical acclaim.”

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Brian Madderson, the chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), said that, while the organisation supported the goal of reducing carbon emissions, “The plan to ban sales of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030 will force the UK to become dependent on Chinese battery technology.

“Our members strongly feel that government has not done enough to develop low carbon liquid fuels and hydrogen as an alternative to EVs, particularly when the German authorities are investing €7 billion into speeding up the market rollout of hydrogen technology.”