The UK Government is set to outlaw the sale of new cars which cannot travel at least 50 miles on electric power from 2040

The Government will ban the sale of new cars that can travel less than 50 miles on electricity from 2040, Autocar can exclusively reveal.

The plan, called Road to Zero and set to be unveiled imminently, follows last year’s announcement by the Government that it would ban all diesel and petrol cars in the UK by that year as part of a £2.7 billion strategy designed to cut pollution. It came in light of research that described UK air quality issues as “a national health emergency”.

At the time of the announcement, it was unclear which electrified models, other than pure-electric models, would be exempt from the ban, leading to heavy criticisim of the strategy's clarity.

As a result of the Road to Zero strategy, all current hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, would be banned from sale from 2040. Plug-in hybrids on sale today typically offer 30 miles of zero-emission range, so they would have to be substantially improved to avoid the ban.

It is estimated that 99% of all cars on sale today would not be able to be sold under the terms of Road to Zero.

While the paper is set to determine a 22-year glide path for purely combustion-engined technology, car industry insiders are said to be unhappy that the ban is being announced by the Government without details of how it plans to invest in infrastructure to support the strategy or how it will incentivise car buyers to adopt new technology other than via the imposition of the deadline.

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Electrified vehicles only accounted for 5.2% of all new car sales in the first four months of this year, reflecting the slow — albeit growing — uptake of zero-emissions models.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Soceity of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which speaks on behalf of car makers, said the industry supported the Goverment's goal for zero-emissions transport. He highlighted the fact that the industry is investing billions in new technology, with nearly 50 plug-in models already on the market; however, he criticised the leaked announcement of the ban and its wording.

Hawes said: "Vehicle manufacturers will increasingly offer electrified versions of their vehicles, giving consumers ever more choice, but industry cannot dictate the pace of change, nor levels of consumer demand. Unrealistic targets and misleading messaging on bans will only undermine our efforts to realise this future, confusing consumers and wreaking havoc on the new car market and the thousands of jobs it supports."

He added that the SMMT could not support goals that "do not appreciate how industry, the consumer or the market operate and which are based neither on fact nor substance".

Moreover, Hawes said that 98% of all new cars are diesel or petrol that meet the latest and toughest emissions standards, helping to reduce climate change and improve air quality: “If the Government wants the UK to be a global leader in zero-emission transport, it must provide a world-class package of incentives and support to make this a credible policy. This includes ensuring we have the right infrastructure in place with sufficient charging points and energy supply.

"Consumers need clear information about the right vehicles for their driving needs and it is again disappointing for both industry and consumers that vitally important information about government policy is being communicated by leaks.”  

A Vauxhall spokesman said: “We have a clear plan to introduce electrified derivatives of all models across our entire product range by 2025 in line with our PACE! plan.  We are cautious of misleading communications on ‘bans’ which can only undermine our major investments to achieve the goal of zero emission transport.

He continued: "Any CO2 ambition levels should be fully supported by equally ambitious infrastructure targets and long term consumer incentives to help drive demand.  Consumers need clear and concise information to provide them with the confidence they need to purchase the right car or van for their needs.

"We will continue to work closely with Government and our industry body the SMMT to ensure that the right market conditions exist to support consumer choice and drive change towards a lower emission future”

The Department for Transport made contact with Autocar to deny the claims. It said: “We do not comment on leaked draft documents. The Road to Zero strategy is yet to be finalised and has not been agreed by ministers.

“It is categorically untrue that Government is planning to ban the sale of hybrid [and plug-in hybrid] cars in the UK by 2040.”    

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Comments
19

4 May 2018
The share of AFVS in the new car sales can rise dramatically if the car makers make them available. Tesla and BMW have shown that AFVS can be fun and frugal.

4 May 2018

"Plug-in hybrids on sale today typically offer 30 miles of zero-emission range, so would have to be substantially improved to avoid the ban." from 30 to 50 miles in 22 years is hardly a substantial improvement.

Of course by then it'll be one big car park anyway

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

4 May 2018

Glad to see that this development is now being correctly reported. I mean it's not like every other press article with a deliberately misleading headline foreseeing a ban on petrol and diesel engine cars in 2040 - without making clear that it's an end to the sale thereof...

That just wouldn’t get the masses clicking would it?

4 May 2018

Autocar I expect more from you - this IS NOT a "ban on sale of new combustion-engined cars", its a ban on the sale of combustion engined cars that are not hybrids. I stopped reading after this became apparent, this is more like a tabloid headline.

XXXX just went POP.

4 May 2018
typos1 wrote:

Autocar I expect more from you - this IS NOT a "ban on sale of new combustion-engined cars", its a ban on the sale of combustion engined cars that are not hybrids. I stopped reading after this became apparent, this is more like a tabloid headline.

Yep, I agree.

Also, they have 22 years to slightly improve hybrid technology so that it can reach 50 miles per charge? That's a laughably pathetic goal. I don't know why they've even bothered with this rule, as most car makers will naturally evolve this way probably a decade before the deadline.

4 May 2018

Just like today's plug ins, they are only any good if they get plugged in. otherwise they are just hybrids with extra large and heavy batteries.

But to be honest, i cant imagine even without this new 'law' that any manufacturer will be offering pure combstion cars in 22 years time. 

4 May 2018

Excellent news!! Now everyone can freely buy their EV's and the enthusiasts can still have their fun cars.

 I think the standart set by the industry will be more than 50 miles already by 2025, apparently Lamborghini will already get close to that in the next-gen Huracan, and they will still keep the V10.

4 May 2018

No doubt batteries will get small and denser, if makers design cars from the outset to accomodate a battery a say, probably about 15kw unit in a smallish car isn't going to be the end of the world.

5 May 2018
The Apprentice wrote:

No doubt batteries will get small and denser, if makers design cars from the outset to accomodate a battery a say, probably about 15kw unit in a smallish car isn't going to be the end of the world.

Volvo currently do, SPA (XC90/S90/XC60) and CMA (XC40) were both designed from the outset to be electrified or hybridised, hence the reason the XC90 T8 hybrid still retains its full 7 seat option, unlike any other hybrid SUV's of the same size, which need ther rearmost seats removing.  

4 May 2018

 Yeah, surely in the next 22yrs the Car industry will crack the Range anxiety thing?, a waste of Government Brain(?) power.....!!

Peter Cavellini.

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