2040 petrol and diesel ban: hybrids set to be exemptMon, 30/07/2018
The Government has revealed more detail on plans to ensure all new cars sold from 2040 are to be zero-emission vehicles.
Hugo Griffiths, Auto Express, reports:
Government states it is “technology neutral” in Road to Zero plans; wants half of all new cars to be ultra-low emission by 2030
Hybrid cars are set to be exempt from the 2040 petrol and diesel ‘ban’, following publication of the Government’s Road to Zero strategy.
The long-awaited document details that the Government is taking a “technology neutral” approach as it aims to make all new cars and vans sold from 2040 “effectively zero emission”. While details on what “effectively” means are still forthcoming, the document explains that “the zero emission range of today’s plug-in hybrid and range extender vehicles can already cover the vast majority of UK journeys”, and recognises “that the vast majority of vehicle manufacturer plans include plug-in battery electric powertrains.”
Announcing the Government’s plans to tackle nitrogen dioxide emissions in July 2017, Michael Gove told the BBC that: "The Conservatives had a manifesto promise to ensure that by 2050 there would be no diesel or petrol vehicles on our road. Today we're confirming that should mean no new diesel or petrol vehicles by 2040."
The same month, Gove went on to tell ITN that “we have to get rid of petrol and diesel cars”. While the Department for Transport’s nitrogen dioxide strategy clarified the Government would end the sale of new “conventional” petrol and diesel cars from 2040, Gove’s comments were widely reported as meaning any car with a petrol or diesel engine – including all types of hybrid – would be banned from sale.
A year later, Road to Zero details that “a 50-mile continuous zero emission range could cover up to 98% of all UK journeys and a 25-mile continuous zero emission range could cover up to 94%”. This indicates sales of new PHEVs with a range of between 25 and 50 miles are likely to be allowed to continue after 2040. Current PHEVs are already able to run for around 30 miles on zero-emission battery power alone. If the 50-mile minimum EV range becomes mandatory, they will likely be able to achieve such a target by 2040. Self-charging hybrids such as the standard Toyota Prius are unlikely to be able to meet either of these targets, though.
The Road to Zero strategy also explains that the Government wants to see “at least 50%, and as many as 70%, of new car sales and up to 40% of new van sales being ultra low emission by 2030.” Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, or ULEVs, are currently classed as cars with CO2 emissions of 75 grams per kilometre (g/km) or less.
While Road to Zero explains that this limit is likely to be reduced to 50g/km of CO2 by 2021, many plug-in hybrids currently on sale – including the Audi A3 e-tron, the Toyota Prius Plug-in, the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – officially emit under 50g/km of CO2 already.
Tighter emission limits are likely to follow, though. Road to Zero states that “by then , we expect the majority of new cars and vans sold to be 100% zero emission and all new cars and vans to have significant zero emission capability. By 2050 we want almost every car and van to be zero emission.” The document cautions, however, that “it would be premature to speculate precisely which technologies might and might not be able to deliver our long-term ambitions”. Road to Zero will be reviewed in 2025, when “progress towards our ambitions” will be assessed.
Other details contained in Road to Zero include the notion that older cars could also benefit from hybrid technology, as “retrofitting vehicles with pollution-reducing technology can offer a relatively low cost alternative to purchasing new low emission vehicles”.
The proposals also call for all new houses to be built with charging points for PHEVs and electric cars and concedes that “cleaner diesel cars and vans can play an important part in reducing CO2 emissions” as “diesel is more suitable for cars that regularly drive long distances or carry heavy loads.” The document also confirms the plug-in car grant will continue until “at least October 2018”, while “consumer incentives in some form will continue to play a role beyond 2020."
Responding to Road to Zero, Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: “the industry said it supports the UK’s ambitions”, but added that “for consumers to adopt these technologies, government must provide a long-term commitment to a world-class package of incentives, including tax and other financial stimuli, policy support and infrastructure – only some of which have been set out today.”
The strategy highlights the lofty ambitions of a Government intending to play their part in reducing CO2 emissions. The increase in demand for electric vehicles may be an encouraging indication of these plans, but significant infrastructure must be implemented if we are to see these goals met.