(UK) – The UK government’s potential decision to delay the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, originally scheduled for 2030, has sparked debates within the automotive sector.
Industry leaders fear that such a delay could discourage consumers from transitioning to electric vehicles, while some driver advocacy groups welcome the idea.
Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), expressed concerns about the confusing message a delay might send to consumers.
The UK government has pursued the 2030 ban as part of its net-zero emissions plan since 2020. However, reports suggest that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is considering revising this plan and other green commitments to reduce costs.
UK considers delay to 2030
Ford, a prominent UK car manufacturer, emphasized that the 2030 target is crucial for accelerating their shift toward cleaner transportation.
Lisa Brankin, Ford UK’s chair, highlighted the company’s substantial investments in UK plants for electric vehicle production, totaling £430 million.
Ford believes that the government’s ambition, commitment, and consistency in green policies are essential for their business.
Stellantis, the parent company of Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroen, and Fiat, reaffirmed its commitment to achieving 100% zero-emission new car and van sales in the UK and Europe by 2030.
However, it called for clarity from governments regarding environmental legislation and its societal impacts.
Economists, such as Anna Valero from Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s advisory committee, argue that a delay in the ban would be detrimental to the UK, disrupting long-term investment decisions needed for a stronger, sustainable economy.
While most consumers won’t be immediately affected by the ban, industry leaders are concerned that the uncertainty may lead to delays in electric vehicle adoption.
Mike Hawes emphasized the urgency of shifting road transport away from fossil fuels for achieving net-zero emissions.
Edmund King, president of the AA motoring group, stressed the importance of providing certainty for both the car industry and drivers to plan for the future.
Despite the concerns, the SMMT highlighted recent success in securing investments for zero-emission vehicles in the UK.
Several car manufacturers, including BMW and Jaguar Land Rover, have committed substantial sums to transition to electric vehicle production, with government support.
The fate of the zero emission vehicles mandate, requiring 22% of cars sold by each manufacturer to be zero-emission from 2024, remains unchanged, according to Mr. Hawes.