Market transformation to zero emissions requires concerted action from UK Government

Following the news that Britain is to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2035, five years earlier than previously planned;

David Leggett, Automotive Editor at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“Moving the date for the ban on fossil-fuel burning cars – including hybrids – forward to 2035 is an ambitious move driven by an even more ambitious UK carbon net-zero target of 2050.

“However, it highlights the daunting task ahead to transform the vehicle market from the current dominance of petrol and diesel to zero emission vehicles. Fully electric vehicles took just under 2% market share of the UK’s new car market in 2019 and sales of zero-emission capable plug-in hybrids were down by almost a fifth, a consequence of the removal of government grants to encourage purchases.

“The automotive industry is investing in the expensive technology required for electric vehicles and many new models will hit the market in 2020, but the experience of other countries – such as Norway – shows that joined up thinking and coordination of incentives (for purchase and for the cars in use) is necessary to achieve a major uplift to electric vehicle share.

“In Britain, we need greater clarity on support measures for plug-ins as well as the commensurate rollout of battery charging infrastructure, which is currently a long way from supporting a much higher electric vehicle share.

“To get to zero petrol and diesel share by 2035 from the current position, a strategic review of the vehicle market and necessary measures to put it on a realistic pathway to that goal are required.”

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