Do you think it is realistic for the Government to ban new petrol and diesel cars from 2040? I see very few electric cars on the road today, and their limited range makes them unsuitable for most motorists.

Q

Do you think it is realistic for the Government to ban new petrol and diesel cars from 2040? I see very few electric cars on the road today, and their limited range makes them unsuitable for most motorists.

A

The Government’s announcement came as part of the national air quality strategy. By removing petrol and diesel cars from the roads, they hope to achieve a significant reduction in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). A switch to electric vehicles will also help the UK to achieve its decarbonisation goals, provided the electricity is renewably sourced. France is also intending to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

At present less than 1% of the world’s vehicles are electric, but this is set to change dramatically in the near future. Over the last two years the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles rose by 250% and now forecasts are being adjusted to predict a more rapid rise in the switch to electric vehicles (EVs). For example UBS, an international finance firm, predicts that by 2025, 14% of all cars sold globally will be battery driven, and electric vehicles will account for one in three cars sold in Europe. The Dutch bank ING predicts that in Europe, 100% of new registrations will be battery powered by 2035. China wants alternative fuel vehicles to account for at least one-fifth of its annual vehicle sales by 2025, and India has plans to electrify all vehicles by 2032. An economist from Stanford University in the USA believes that worldwide, all vehicle miles travelled will be electric by 2040. All this makes the UK Government’s goal appear quite modest, and proponents of EVs believe that more optimistic targets could be achievable: for example, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) would like to see a target that electric vehicles should make up at least 60% of new cars and vans sold in the UK by the end of the next decade.

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