Defining a clear strategy to deliver on proposed sales ban of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035

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Defining a clear strategy to deliver on proposed sales ban of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035

Plans to ban petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035 is positive news for the EV industry but will require a clear and strategic plan by the Government.

Britain recently confirmed it would move the ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles forward to 2035, gaining notable support from environmental organisations and equal measures of criticism from automotive manufacturers. The ban, which has been moved from 2040 will incorporate plug-in hybrid vehicles but is yet to include any definitive insights into how this plan of action will be achieved.

The movement towards electric vehicles will depend on the availability of vital materials and necessary infrastructure. The existing electric charging network in Britain will require significant investment in order to meet the newly proposed targets. Environmental campaign group Transport & Environment supported the new move while the British Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) believed criticised the announcement.

Greg Archer, UK director at T&E believes the change in date represents a serious commitment towards cleaning the UK automotive industry. Archer explains that in the government will need to act quickly to introduce the regulations required to meet this target, forcing manufacturers to increase sales of their annual stock of zero-emission vehicles until the phase-out is reached. Archer believes that structured rules with enforced penalties for automotive businesses will be the most effective means of reaching the target.

In contrast, SMMT highlighted their concerns regarding how the government had changed the dates and its associated impact on consumers and the industry. SMMT emphasises that manufacturers are committed to a zero emissions future but highlights the existing demand for expensive technology that represents such a small portion of sales, suggesting that accelerating initial targets will require more than just industry investment. Mike Hawes, the CEO of SMMT believes the market will require significant changes, and the UK charging infrastructure needs considerable improvement to be capable of meeting these new targets.

Hawes believes that if the UK is to content in a net zero future, we will need to deliver a competitive market that supports businesses and manufacturers. Hawes refers to the proposed date but the lack of a strategic plan to support progress. SMMT are urging the government to announce a clear and sustainable plan, that protects the industry and jobs and allows all invested groups to be capable of adapting to the market changes.

Industry group GlobalData believes further actions are required by the Government, highlighting that under 2% of Britain’s new vehicle sales last year were completely electric. Global Data explains that the automotive industry is making investments into the infrastructure required for electric vehicles and more models are expected to reach the market this year. The research group state that in order to really ramp up the share of electric vehicles will require a coordinated effort, including new incentives and dedicated programs to encourage further uptake.

Specialist industry company Techmet raised concerns regarding the supply of essential metals to develop batteries if demand levels did rise as anticipated. Techmet highlights that it can take several years to develop and produce critical minerals for this technology. The metals specialist believes that if the UK Government is serious in supporting the transition to electric vehicles, they must be factoring or investing in creating a sufficient pipeline of new materials for new projects. 

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