MPs want ban on petrol and diesel auto sales brought forward

Electric car logo

Electric car logo

A ban on new petrol and diesel cars should be brought forward by eight years because the government's current target is "unambitious and vague", according to a committee of MPs.

The parliamentary Business Committee, led by Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, warned that Ministers must also "get a grip" and tackle a lack of charging points which act as a barrier to people buying electric cars.

The call significantly brings forward the target outlined earlier this year by the prime minister who insisted that all new cars and vans should be "effectively zero emission" by 2040.

The committee's chairwoman Rachel Reeves said that the Government's actions failed to back up its ambition of the United Kingdom being a world leader in electric vehicle ownership.

In a report published on Friday the committee said it was unacceptable to have so little clarity on the meaning of the 2040 targets, which was leaving industry in the dark over investment decisions.

The reports also calls for a refocusing of the UK's industrial activities and notes that rather than trying to play catch-up on technology areas such as battery-manufacturing (where other countries have taken a substantial lead) the United Kingdom would be better off aggressively targeting high-value aspects of the EV and battery supply chains where it already holds comparative strengths.

"If we want to ensure we have jobs in the vehicle industry in the United Kingdom in 20 years time we need to be at the forefront of the electric auto revolution", she told the Guardian.

Rachel Reeves MP, BEIS chair, said: "Electric vehicles are increasingly popular, and present exciting opportunities for the United Kingdom to develop an internationally competitive EV industry and reduce our carbon emissions".

"As part of this, we want between 50 per cent and 70 per cent of new auto sales to be ultra low emission by 2030, and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040. We can not expect consumers to overcome "range anxiety" and switch to electric vehicles if they can not be confident of finding convenient, reliable points to regularly charge their cars", Reeves said.

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Martell disagreed with the Committee's finding that EV charging infrastructure is "not fit for purpose".

They added that regulations need to be introduced to provide an extensive, reliable ands standardised public network.

With grants and tax incentives on electric cars mostly only available to wealthier drivers, more creative support should be explored so all motorists can benefit from EVs, such as vehicle clubs and the second-hand market.

The report also calls for financial incentives to encourage EV purchases - including for a planned reduction in low-emission BIK company vehicle tax rates to be brought forward.

And the Government should take more steps to encourage manufacturers to locate new EV facilities in the United Kingdom and re-purpose old combustion engine production lines for making electric vehicles instead of closing them down.

As for the automotive industry, the report calls on the Government to work more closely with top carmakers to create a national auto industry that is "attractive" for investors and companies looking to locate new EV facilities in the UK.

"To bring that forward to 2032 at a time when we don't have the necessary [electric vehicle charging] infrastructure - and after the government has cut incentives for plug-in hybrids - would make it impossible to achieve".

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said: "Electric vehicles are increasingly popular, and present exciting opportunities for the United Kingdom to develop an internationally competitive EV industry and reduce our carbon emissions".

"According to our own research, the United Kingdom is the fifth best European country in which to own an electric vehicle".

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