UK to ban the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles by 2035
The United Kingdom (UK) will ban the selling of petrol and diesel engines by the year 2035 under a proposed policy announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that would bring the due date for banning internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles sales forward by five years.
Mr Johnson originally announced the UK’s intention to ban selling ICE vehicles by 2040 at a United Nations climate summit in November last year but revised the date on the back of advice from scientific experts.
Under the Johnson government, they have set the target of emitting virtually zero carbon by the year 2050. However, scientists have warned Mr Johnson that allowing ICE vehicles to be sold until 2040 would make this target difficult to achieve.
In an interesting development for the future of clean mobility, hybrid vehicles will also be included in the ban, with automakers only allowed to sell vehicles that are either battery electric (BEV) or hydrogen.
BEV sales have risen dramatically in the UK in the last 12 months, with 37,850 new vehicles being registered in 2019, an increase of 144 percent from 2018. However, this figures equates to a market share of just 1.6 percent, well below that of petrol (64.8 percent) and even diesel (25.2 percent) sales, proving significant work must be done if the 2035 goal is to be achieved.
The proposal has also been met with strong criticism from those in the automotive industry, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) asking whether the local industry had been consulted prior to announcing the amended proposal.
“We need to hear how government plans to fulfil its ambitions in a sustainable way, one that safeguards industry and jobs,” said SMMT CEO Mike Hawes.
“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.”
While the 2035 ban date is certainly optimistic, the UK are by no means the first to set such lofty goals when it comes to taking ICE vehicles off the road.
Norway, a shining global example when it comes to the uptake of EVs, are on track to ban ICE vehicle sales by 2025, which would make them the first country to do so. Plug-in vehicles accounted for 56 percent of all new car sales in the Nordic country in 2019, with BEVs alone making up 42 percent of all sales. This electric charge has been led by the Tesla Model 3, which was the best-selling vehicle in Norway for 2019 with 15,683 sales.
Elsewhere, seven countries – Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden – have committed to ending ICE vehicle sales by 2030, while France and Sri Lanka are among the countries looking to implement a 2040 ban.
However, unlike the UK’s proposed ban on hybrid vehicles, it appears many other countries looking to phase out ICE vehicles will still allow hybrids to be sold, with the low emission technology still an essential component in delivering climate action goals according to experts.
This is a relief for auto manufacturers such as Daimler, who have agreed to spend US$11.7 billion building 10 new all electric and 40 hybrid models.
Australia have also been vocal about including hybrids in any low emission vehicle targets, with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) urging local lawmakers against following the UK’s proposed policy.
“To this point, the automotive industry has achieved significant gains in the increased efficiency of internal combustion petrol and diesel engines, and they will continue to play a significant role for many years to come,” read a statement released by the FCAI.
“To ensure Australia achieves the best outcome, the FCAI urges strong Federal and State Government support to encourage both CO2 targets and the adoption of all low emission and energy efficient power trains in the Australian market.”
Australia have largely failed to adopt EV technology so far, with minimal government support or intervention slowing progress. Due to this, there is no set date proposed of banning the sale of ICE vehicles yet.
A mere 2,925 BEVs and plug-in hybrids were sold in Australia in 2019, excluding the number of Teslas sold (Tesla does not release sales numbers in Australia). Petrol-electric hybrids, meanwhile, managed 30,641 sales, or just under 3 percent of the market share, thanks to the addition of numerous new models such as the Toyota RAV4 and Corolla hybrid.
So while the UK marches on ahead with their vision of banning all petrol and diesel vehicles, including hybrids, it appears that Australia will continue to rely on hybrid technology to reduce vehicle emissions for the foreseeable future, at least until more is done to grow EV sales.
11 Feb 2020