Petrol and Diesel Vehicle Sales Banned from 2040
Britain has pledged to stop all sales of petrol, diesel, and hybrid vehicles by 2040, in a bid to improve air quality and public health. The government reasons that the ban is necessarily to improve “dangerous” air quality levels, something that it estimates costs the UK around £2.7 billion a year in lost productivity.
The move mirrors similar measures recently announced in France, as President Macron made the same pledge to move to electric only vehicles from 2040, and follows Volvo’s recent commitment to only manufacture electric and hybrid vehicles from 2019. Similarly, BMW recently announced that it will begin producing an all-electric Mini at the UK’s Cowley plant at some point in 2019.
Speaking about the plan, a government spokesperson commented: “Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and this government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible.”
So far the announcement has been met with a mixed reception from all quarters of the political and business landscape. Pressure group FairFuelUK has said the timescale is too short, and that it would be fairer to consumers “to phase in new fuel technologies to work effectively and be supported, without a target date to terminate diesel and petrol.”
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, says that the success of the plan depends on the willingness of consumers to adopt electric and alternative fuel vehicles , and that “we could undermine the UK’s successful automotive sector if we don’t allow enough time for the industry to adjust”.
However, UK automotive industry expert David Bailey says that the timescale of the ban “is sufficiently long-term to be taken seriously”, and that the move would “send a very clear signal to manufacturers and consumers of the direction of travel and may accelerate a transition to electric cars.” Bailey also predicts that with or without the pledge, electric cars could already out-compete petrol and diesel on factors like cost by the “mid 2020’s”.
As we’ve reported previously, electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf are becoming an increasingly common sight in the taxi industry, with drivers attracted to the lower running costs of greener vehicles. In addition, cabbies in London will soon be switching to all electric range assisted vehicles, once new TfL legislation is adopted in 2018.