Published on November 14th, 2020 |
by Dr. Maximilian Holland
November 14th, 2020 by Dr. Maximilian Holland
The UK government was due to make an announcement on the possibility of a more ambitious timeline for the ban of combustion vehicles in the coming few days, and sources have already told both the BBC and the Financial Times that the ban will indeed be brought forward to 2030.
Following similar pledges by other European nations, in July 2017 the UK government initially announced a timeline of 2040 for the banning of sales of combustion vehicles.
Then, in early February 2020, the deadline for combustion sales was brought forward to 2035, subject to consultation.
This coming week the government was due to make an announcement on whether an even more ambitious target of 2030 or 2032 would be put in place. Both the BBC and the Financial Times are reporting that government sources tell them that 2030 will be the new deadline, to be officially announced later this week.
When the initial 2040 date was announced back in 2017, the UK market share for plugin electric vehicles had ended the previous year (2016) at 1.5% and was on track to end 2017 at 1.9%. When the pull-forward to 2035 was announced in February 2020, the UK had just seen 2019 achieve a plugin share of 3.5%:
2020 has blown the previous rate of progress of plugin vehicles out of the water, not just in the UK, but all across Europe. The UK currently stands at 9.1% plugin market share, and by the end of this year will have see around a 3x growth in share over the course of just 12 months. The larger markets of France and Germany are slightly further ahead, and Europe as a whole is on track to see a plugin share of around 11% in full year 2020.
Against this context, the UK government bringing the timeline forward to 2030 is comfortably in line with the speed of the transition as it already exists “on the ground” in the UK automarket.
However, the Financial Times reports that plugin hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), that can drive on pure electric energy, but typically also use a combustion engine on longer journeys, may be allowed to remain on sale until 2035.
Whether PHEV technology – which is more complex than a pure battery electric powertrain – will still be relevant after 2030 is very doubtful. Full battery electric vehicles with long range, convenient fast charging, and lower prices than equivalent combustion alternatives (and PHEVs) already exist in some vehicle segments, and are comfortably on track to dominate most mainstream vehicle segments by the middle of this decade in the UK (and the rest of Europe).
In these regions, full electric vehicles will inevitably dominate all significant segments by 2030, based on lower sticker cost, much lower running costs, lower maintenance costs, and inherently superior driving characteristics.
We will be keeping an eye out for the official announcement in the coming days. Although the organic growth of electric vehicles will make the timeline fairly moot, having an official date will help to focus the industry towards the transition, and encourage other countries and regions to firm up their own plans.
Article images courtesy of Pixabay, EAFO and Tesla
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Latest Cleantech Talk Episode