Ban on new petrol and diesel cars should be brought forward

Mae Love
October 21, 2018

She added: "Electric vehicles are increasingly popular, and present exciting opportunities for the United Kingdom to develop an internationally competitive EV industry and reduce our carbon emissions".

The MPs who wrote this report want the government's plans moved forward, banning the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2032 - eight years earlier than originally suggested.

Ministers have also been told they must "get a grip" and tackle the growing infrastructure problems associated with electric cars across the country.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) committee has urged the government to bring forward its 2040 target to stop selling cars running on petrol and diesel fuels to 2032. "Through our National Infrastructure Assessment, we recommend the Government work with Ofgem and local authorities to create a truly national, visible charging network and ensure people can make the switch confident they will be able to charge their cars during or at the end of their journey - wherever in the country that is".

Responding to the report, a government spokesperson said: "Our Road to Zero strategy outlined our ambition for the United Kingdom to be the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle".

The committee says that poor provision of electric vehicle (EV) charging points is now the biggest barrier to their adoption, and says the government should take the lead in ensuring they are installed, and help local authorities provide them through technical and financial support. The Government should also maintain Plug-in Grants for new electric vehicles at current levels, rather than cutting them from November (as announced by the Department for Transport on 11 October).

Ministers want more support for lower-income families to be able to purchase an electric auto whether that be in incentives, vehicle clubs and the second-hand market.

And the Government should take more steps to encourage manufacturers to locate new EV facilities in the United Kingdom and re-purpose old combustion engine production lines for making electric vehicles instead of closing them down.

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The group said that although the United Kingdom was a world leader on electric cars, ranked fourth globally in sales a year ago, that status was at risk due to the government being too vague on its targets.

She added that "the UK Government's targets on zero-emissions vehicles are unambitious and vague, giving little clarity or incentive to industry or the consumer to invest in electric cars".

"We said we need world-class infrastructure and world-class incentives to have any chance of delivering, so the recent cuts to the Plug-in Car Grant and lack of charging facilities - both of which are severely criticised by the Committee - show just how hard it would be to accelerate this transition".

"There are still significant barriers that are putting drivers off alternatively fuelled vehicles - these include the upfront cost, access to charging infrastructure, and ease and time to charge a vehicle".

"We firmly support the committee's call for greater ambition and believe that an accelerated timetable for the roll out of electric vehicles is both desirable and feasible", it said.

Responding to the report, a Government spokesman said: "Our Road to Zero Strategy outlined our ambition for the United Kingdom to be the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle".

2040 also undermines the government's low carbon agenda owing to its use of the term "effectively" zero emission when describing those vehicles that will replace conventional cars, which leaves the door open for hybrid vehicles that emit carbon.

Rachel Reeves MP, BEIS chair, said: "Electric vehicles are increasingly popular, and present exciting opportunities for the United Kingdom to develop an internationally competitive EV industry and reduce our carbon emissions".

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