As Boris Johnson set out plans for the UK to lead the world in delivering a net zero emissions economy, he has announced on 4 February that from 2035, the UK will see a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans – five years earlier than previously planned.
Reinforcing government's commitment to delivering on its net zero by 2050 target, he confirmed the intention of bringing forward the current date for phasing out the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans. Government is now expected to conduct a consultation on moving the ban from 2040 to 2035 – earlier if possible. Significantly, this would for the first time include hybrids, providing a major boost for developers of pure electric cars, but potentially creating a backlash from some manufacturers and users.
Commenting, RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett said: “Of course we all want to tackle climate change, but it has to be done in a realistic and manageable way. Changing the UK’s car fleet to electric is one thing. They are increasingly available, with improving range and infrastructure that will work for users. For vans this is less clear cut because payloads and duty cycles are much more demanding.
“The changeover process for heavy goods vehicles is different again. Research into alternative fuels is already widespread. However, because of the nature of the road freight industry and the distances covered, there is still a very long way to go before an efficient, cost-effective alternative to diesel-powered trucks can be found.
The average price of a truck is approximately £85K. It will be many years before the industry develops an ‘alternative-fuelled’ truck that ticks haulier’s boxes but we, as the representative body for the sector are keen to work with the truck manufacturer’s development teams to ensure a smooth and cost-effective transition to alternative fuels.
Vehicles are an expensive investment. If companies are to invest in cleaner vehicles the Government also needs to reassure buyers that they will be able to use them for a reasonable lifespan – at least 12 years for lorries.