The UK to Stop Sales of Diesel and Petrol Cars by 2030

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The UK has revised its timeline and said it will stop the sales of diesel and petrol cars by 2030, aiming to kick-start its ‘green industrial revolution’ by the turn of the decade. 

The news came from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said that one pillar of the UK’s new green industrial revolution plan is to stop sales of diesel and petrol powered cars and vans by 2030. 

Part of the UK’s environmental management plan is to implement its ten-point strategy to minimise the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels for energy, research new carbon capture methods and diversify its workforce into the renewables sector; Johnson says the plan is set to create more than 250,000 new jobs in the process.  The UK move to stop sales of diesel and petrol cars by 2030 is one of the most ambitious targets of the Green Industrial Revolution plan.

Previously, the UK government said that it would stop sales of petrol and diesel powered cars by 2040, which has since been revised by a decade. Johnson says the revision came after “extension consultation with car manufacturers,” and that the government would continue to “allow the sale of hybrid cars and vans that can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe until 2035.” 

Prime Minister Johnson writes in Financial Times column that “my 10-point plan to get there will mobilise £12 billion of government investment, and potentially three times as much from the private sector, to create and support up to 250,000 green jobs.”  

The ten point plan, according to Johnson includes a commitment to: 

  • Make the UK the ‘Saudi Arabia of wind’, with enough offshore capacity to power every home by 2030
  • Invest £500 million into hydrogen energy 
  • Implement small and large-scale nuclear power facilities
  • Invest more than £2.8 billion into electric vehicles, charging infrastructure and battery technology. “This will allow us to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030,” he says. 
  • A fleet of public transport infrastructure powered by renewables, as well as new cycle lanes for metropolitan areas. 
  • Trans-Atlantic flights and ships powered by a zero emission technology
  • £1 billion worth of investment for green technology to be installed in homes, schools, and hospitals. 
  • £1 billion of investment for carbon capture technology across North Wales and Scotland. 
  • Planting 30,000 hectares worth of trees by 2025, “rewilding 30,000 football pitches’ worth of countryside.” 
  • Establishing a £1 billion ‘energy innovation fund’ to help commercialise low-carbon technologies, as well as aiming for London to become the capital of green finance and investment. 

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Sales of Petrol and Diesel Cars & Vans to Stop by 2030

Japanese manufacturer, Toyota, who was ahead of the curve when it came to hybrid powertrains has said that outlawing hybrid models could throw future investments into the UK into disarray. Honda echoed this sentiment stating that the timeline was “too narrow.” 

Honda has said that 100% of its models sold in the UK in 2022 will be powered by a hybrid powertrain, but has conceded that “there are technological and resource constraints that will be more difficult to overcome and which mean that battery electric cannot replace internal combustion engines in all segments.” 

Tom Heggarty, an analyst with Wood Mackenzie has told CNBC that there is a significant amount of work to do to ensure that cars sold by 2030 meet the environmental targets set by the government. 

“Less than 10% of the cars sold in the U.K. during 2020 so far have been battery EVs,” he said. “Getting to 100% will require a huge effort across the entire supply chain, as well as ensuring that enough fast charging infrastructure is available to keep all new electric vehicles on the road.” 

The same report quotes Mike Hawes, the Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders who said the “new deadline, fast-tracked by a decade, sets an immense challenge.” 

He said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders “accept the importance of hybrid transition technologies,” and said the society will “commit to additional spending on purchase incentives.” 

“Investment in EV manufacturing capability is equally welcome as we want this transition to be ‘made in the U.K.,’ but if we are to remain competitive, – as an industry and a market – this is just the start of what’s needed. 

Prime Minister Johnson concluded his column on an optimistic note, writing that “green and growth go hand-in-hand. So let us meet the most enduring threat to our planet with one of the most innovative and ambitious programmes of job-creation we have known.” 

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