Thursday 6 February 2020 4:29 am

DEBATE: Is 2035 too soon to ban petrol and diesel new car sales?

Alex Buttle is director of car selling comparison website Motorway.co.uk.
and Fiona Howarth
Fiona Howarth is chief executive of Octopus Electric Vehicles.

Is 2035 too soon to ban petrol and diesel new car sales?

Alex Buttle, director of car selling comparison website Motorway.co.uk, says YES.

The government already had its work cut out to meet its previous 2040 deadline, and endless confusion over Brexit and the car industry’s future haven’t helped consumer confidence to make the switch to electric.
So by cutting that deadline by five years, it has brought even more pressure on itself.

If the government is to stand a chance of meeting such an ambitious target, it must improve the UK’s electric vehicle infrastructure and encourage early switching to electric cars.

While more could be done to incentivise car owners to switch to electric with better subsidies, the major issue remains access to charging points. There is clearly resistance from car owners to switch until they are confident that there is both public and private charging infrastructure in place that will be able to cope with demand.

Now Brexit has taken a back seat for the time being, the government can refocus its attention on getting its ambitious net-zero emissions strategy back on track.

Fiona Howarth, chief executive of Octopus Electric Vehicles, says NO.

The 2035 ban is easily achievable — and the government could be even more ambitious. A ban is possible within a decade, with the right infrastructure and incentives to encourage the switch to electric vehicles (EVs).

The benefits speak for themselves. EVs are great to drive, good for the planet, and easy on the wallet, saving drivers up to 90 per cent of fuel costs.

Tesla has done to the car market what Apple did with smartphones — and traditional automakers are catching up. There are now 25 per cent more public charging locations in UK than petrol stations, making “range anxiety” a thing of the past. Drivers are realising this. Over 70 per cent are considering going electric for their next vehicle, up from 25 per cent in 2017.

Scotland’s deadline for banning sales of new petrol and diesel cars is 2032, and the Committee on Climate Change has called for a 2030 ban. That should be the goal across the UK.

The revolution on our roads is happening. The government should make it happen even sooner.

Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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