Call to scrap 2030 ban on sale of petrol cars
Ministers are warned that infrastructure will not be in place by the deadline
Pressure is building on government ministers to scrap plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
It comes amid a growing view that a deadline is not needed as consumers and the vehicle industry are making sufficient progress in transitioning to alternative fuel sources.
A number of manufacturers, including Ford and Jaguar Land Rover, have announced a massive switch in investment away from petrol and diesel vehicles that will also see the launch of new models.
But there is also growing acceptance that some petrol and diesel sales will be needed to satisfy those who may remain disconnected for the electric vehicle charging network.
While a consortium of EV players has just announced a big roll-out of charging points, there remain questions about whether current supply forecasts will achieve national coverage by 2030, or by 2035 when the sale of new hybrids will also be banned.
It also comes amid a wobble in demand for EVs with sales falling in recent months because of their relatively higher cost and poor access to charging points.
A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), commissioned by the pro-petrol lobby group Fair Fuel UK, questioned the need for a deadline. It said that even without a ban there would be significant falls in carbon emissions, with EVs becoming more popular while petrol and diesel cars become more fuel efficient.
Despite the apparent slowdown in demand, the UK government’s forecasts for EV uptake range from 60% to more than 95% of new car sales by the end of the decade.
It is a far more aggressive switch than seen in some other countries, including the US – the home of Tesla – where EVs will account for just 15% of sales in 2030 as cheap petrol contribute to a continuing demand for fossil fuel driven vehicles.
In the UK, the call from economists to scrap the deadline is being supported by MPs, including those on the government benches. Karl McCartney, Conservative MP for Lincoln told The Times: “The use of EVs will spread to urban areas but once you get outside the big cities, the situation is very different. There isn’t the infrastructure or the desire.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former Business Secretary, said: “It’s absolute madness. We are not ready. The petrol engine is an extremely efficient way of providing transport. The charging infrastructure just isn’t there. The cost of electric cars is still very high. The range of electric cars is still not good enough.”
There were just over 37,000 public charging points at the beginning of this year, and the pace of installation is not fast enough to reach the UK government’s target 300,000 by 2030.
There is also concern that a fixed deadline will see a huge loss in the resale value of petrol and diesel cars bought in the months ahead of the 2030 deadline.
The European Commission has diluted its 2035 ban on the sale of pure petrol and diesel cars to permit the use of vehicles running on electro-fuels, which use CO2 captured from industrial emissions combined with hydrogen produced by renewable energy.