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UK To Ban Sales Of Combustion Vehicles By 2030 — Report

The UK government was due to make an announcement on the possibility of a more ambitious timeline for the ban of combustion vehicles in the coming few days, and sources have already told both the BBC and the Financial Times that the ban will indeed be brought forward to 2030.

The UK government was due to make an announcement on the possibility of a more ambitious timeline for the ban of combustion vehicles in the coming few days, and sources have already told both the BBC and the Financial Times that the ban will indeed be brought forward to 2030.

Photo by Andreas Lischka/Pixabay

Following similar pledges by other European nations, in July 2017 the UK government initially announced a timeline of 2040 for the banning of sales of combustion vehicles.

Then, in early February 2020, the deadline for combustion sales was brought forward to 2035, subject to consultation.

This coming week the government was due to make an announcement on whether an even more ambitious target of 2030 or 2032 would be put in place. Both the BBC and the Financial Times are reporting that government sources tell them that 2030 will be the new deadline, to be officially announced later this week.

When the initial 2040 date was announced back in 2017, the UK market share for plugin electric vehicles  had ended the previous year (2016) at 1.5% and was on track to end 2017 at 1.9%. When the pull-forward to 2035 was announced in February 2020, the UK had just seen 2019 achieve a plugin share of 3.5%:

Click on image to enlarge

Whether PHEV technology — which is more complex than a pure battery electric powertrain — will still be relevant after 2030 is very doubtful. Full battery electric vehicles with long range, convenient fast charging, and lower prices than equivalent combustion alternatives (and PHEVs) already exist in some vehicle segments, and are comfortably on track to dominate most mainstream vehicle segments by the middle of this decade in the UK (and the rest of Europe).

In these regions, full electric vehicles will inevitably dominate all significant segments by 2030, based on lower sticker cost, much lower running costs, lower maintenance costs, and inherently superior driving characteristics.

We will be keeping an eye out for the official announcement in the coming days. Although the organic growth of electric vehicles will make the timeline fairly moot, having an official date will help to focus the industry towards the transition, and encourage other countries and regions to firm up their own plans.


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Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking about social and environmental justice, sustainability and the human condition. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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