The BBC is reporting that the UK is bringing forward an important deadline. The sale of new petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicles will be now banned in 2035, a full 5 years earlier than first planned.
This shows a commitment by the UK to electric vehicles which are so clearly the future of transport. The country has a commitment to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050 and it seems they’re getting after it with the new date for sales of combustion vehicles.
The Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson is an interesting character, one that has been criticised for his climate positions in the past. It seems things are finally changing as he is expected to outline more detail on this new policy at an event to launch a United Nations climate summit in November.
While it’ll be controversial, I think it’s great to see hybrid vehicles included in this policy. Hybrids have been used by companies with 2nd-rate battery technology as a stop-gap measure until they can produce products that compete with the market leader for range, Tesla.
Hybrids miss many of the benefits afforded by EVs, including the opportunity to reduce complexity and moving parts that can wear out and require maintenance. Hybrids also don’t get you away from the dependency on petrol, it may reduce the frequency in which you visit the servo, but ultimately you’re still burning petrol.
International announcements of big, bold targets like this are important to set a benchmark of where Australia should head with climate policy.
When you consider that EVs are expected to hit price parity with combustion-powered vehicles by 2024/2025, it’s not unreasonable to believe that sales will fall off a cliff after this occurs. Fast forward to 10 years after that and it’d be hard to believe anyone would want a car that will be more expensive, can do less km, performs worse and importantly continues to pollute the environment.
In that light, the ban in 2035 doesn’t actually seem aggressive but does let everyone be sure about the future direction of the country.
The UK in 2019 sold 2.3 Million cars. As we’ve seen with strict emission standards, having key markets announce new requirements, drives the behaviour of manufacturers to engineer vehicles differently. This will help assure those sitting on the fence actually go all-in on electric vehicles.
The top-selling brands in the UK for 2019 were:
I guarantee this list will change dramatically by the time 2035 rolls around.
What’s kind of impressive about the UK is that in 2019, Battery electric vehicles (BEV) accounted for the 3rd highest volume of sales, following Diesel and Petrol. In 2019, BEVs accounted for just 1.6% of the market, while Petrol accounted for 61.9% and Diesel made up 31.5%.
This means the UK is on track for a complete revolution in vehicles, with 98.4% of the vehicles registered last year, will be not legal to register a similarly new vehicle of that type in just 15 years from now.
I’d really love to see Australian politicians follow suit, with a similarly ambitious target for the future. We don’t need an overly aggressive target that destroys jobs today, but instead, one that shows a clear direction for the future of what’s allowed to be sold in our country.