Currently reading: Ford of Europe boss: combustion ban debate is 'unhelpful'
Stuart Rowley speaks out against conflict between manufacturers and government at the Mach E's London launch

Ford’s European boss Stuart Rowley has moved to dampen concerns about a conflict between car makers and legislators, following government proposals to ‘ban’ sale of combustion cars and hybrids from 2035.

Speaking at a London event called Go Electric aimed at publicising Ford’s electrification models and plans, Rowley said he believed talk of bans was “not helpful” and that best progress would be made if participants in negotiations were “positive and not adversarial”.

“We have already begun a lot of negotiations,” says Rowley, “both here and in the EU, where proposed new laws are also hugely ambitious. The authorities have seen that we’re making good progress this year - Ford plans 14 electrified models this year alone - and we’ll make much more progress by 2025.

“What’s really important is the performance of the cars we build now. Between today and 2035 the industry will put 30 million cars on the road in the UK alone, and that fleet will be around until 2050. What matters right now is how effective those cars are at reducing CO2 now.”

Rowley believes there are “smart people” in government prepared to “engage sincerely” in drawing up effective plans for our electrified future. They will be watching for unintended consequences, says Rowley, and will move to reduce them with tweaks and changes when necessary.

“The challenge for us right now,” says Rowley, “is to make the right plans for our next portfolio of models. It’s likely that pure internal combustion engine models will struggle from 2025 when the next tranche of regulations arrives. We believe the battery electric vehicle will become a big part of the mix, and quite soon. But we have to make a bet on whether that demand arrives in, say, 2023 or 2027. And given the size of the investment needed, the stakes are very high.

Ford’s first vehicle designed purely for electric power, the Mach-e, went on sale last November at prices between £40,250 and £58,000. UK buyers who have reserved cars will be asked to confirm their spec and pay a deposit this summer, and local deliveries of the Mexican-built cars will start late this year, at the same time as US deliveries begin.

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Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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CharlieBrown 14 February 2020

The tipping point is soon

The tipping point when an EV is at the same price or lower than a combustion engine is expected in the next 2 to 3 years - once the volumes go up then the price comes down simple - and the charging infrastructure will just roll out to cope

jagdavey 14 February 2020

People will hang on to their old ICE's

Not everybody will be able to afford new electric vehicles. This will result in people hanging on to their old bangers for longer & longer. The reason why the car industry is reluctant to ditch ICE powertrains is because the larger economies like Germany & the US haven't set any limits for the banning of ICE's. Germany hasn't even given up using coal to generate electricity yet, laying down a ban on using coal to come into effect from 2050!!!!! 

Peter Cavellini 14 February 2020


Just read there’s a downturn in their economy due to......?...Brexit!
NavalReserve 14 February 2020

From £40250...

As a matter of interest, does anyone know how many cars costing over £40k are sold in a year in the UK? This would give us a clue of the proportion of new cars that could be battery powered in the next few years

As BEVs seem to start at this price, I think it's unlikely that most people will be able to afford one.

Perhaps it's the government's intention to Jack up the price of petrol and diesel to force the poor onto the buses and leave the roads to their affluent chums.