Environmental push. Boris Johnson announces Britain is to bring forward its ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 to 2035
The United Kingdom is to ban sales of cars with traditional combustion engines from 2035, to accelerate the goal of zero emissions in the country.
The decision brings forward the UK’s goal of an electric car future, as it had initially planned to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars but only in 2040.
The electric car is therefore slated to arrive soon than first thought. In July last year new models of electric cars were required to emit a sound under new EU rules designed to prevent harm to pedestrians.
The UK acceleration of the ban on sales of cars with combustion engines came when the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, spoke on Tuesday at a launch event for COP26 at London’s Science Museum.
He was speaking alongside naturalist and environmental campaigner David Attenborough.
COP26 is the Glasgow UN Climate Change Conference planned for November this year. It aims to solidify the results achieved at the 2015 Paris Agreement.
“We have to deal with our CO2 emissions, and that is why the UK is calling for us to get to net zero as soon as possible, to get every country to announce credible targets to get there – that’s what we want from Glasgow,” Johnson was quoted by Reuters as saying.
“We know as a country, as a society, as a planet, as a species, we must now act,” he reportedly said.
Britain has pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The UK decision will be closely monitored by other European countries. The Netherlands for example has been exploring if it was possible to ban the sale of combustion-engined vehicles by 2025.
And already the majors of Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens have said they plan to ban diesel vehicles from city centers by 2025.
France is preparing to ban the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars by 2040 and Norway’s parliament has set a non-binding goal that by 2025 all cars should be zero emissions, Reuters reported.
There are concerns on possible jobs in Germany, as the UK is the biggest global export market for its car manufacturers, amounting to about 20 percent of global sales.
Indeed, it seems that electric cars take less time to build than combustion-engined or hybrid models.
The government said that, subject to consultation, it planned to bring forward an end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition was possible.
But it may have some obstacles.
Diesel and petrol models still account for 90 percent of car sales in the UK, and electric cars do currently cost more than their combustion powered equivalents.
There are also significant concerns among car buyers about the drawbacks to electric vehicles, namely the limited availability of charging points in the UK, as well as the limited range of many electric cars.
There is also concern about the lifespan of current battery packs commonly found in cars.
Also there is the point that while electric cars are being touted as green, the reality is that the power has to come from somewhere, and if the power generation itself is not renewable, then its green credentials are damaged.
Also, batteries are highly toxic items that involve complex manufacturing.
The government reportedly said last year it was providing an extra 2.5 million pounds ($3.25 million) to fund the installation of more than 1,000 new charge points for electric vehicles on residential streets.
But that in reality is a tiny drop in the ocean if the UK hopes to achieve its all electric car vision in the decades ahead.