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Industry figures react to the Government’s announcement today that it intends to bring forward the petrol and diesel car sales ban by five years to 2035 – and that this ban will also include plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Gerry Keaney, BVRLA chief executive:

Gerry Keaney, Chief Executive, BVRLA - Image 7

“Fleets are being asked to invest billions of pounds in new electric vehicle technology and infrastructure, which comes at a hefty price premium to its petrol and diesel alternatives.

“To achieve these goals the Government must provide a clear support package through to at least 2025. It must preserve the Plug in Car and Van Grants, maintain a strong set of tax incentives and tackle the huge and often arbitrary costs associated with fleet charging infrastructure.”

Caroline Sandall, ACFO chairman:

ACFO deputy chairman Caroline Sandall 1

“Climate change and air quality are major international concerns, but simply advocating a ban on the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans is far too simplistic.

“It is clear politicians do not live in the real world – a world occupied by businesses employing fleet decision-makers that already typically operate the most technologically advanced and therefore the cleanest vehicles available.

“Fleets are, in the main, in the vanguard of introducing plug-in vehicles and taking action to reduce their carbon footprint, but politicians must make it much easier to switch, and switch quickly.

“ACFO is very keen to see a much higher level of commitment to supporting greater take-up of electric vehicles. However, while new car registration figures show that demand is increasing it is being hampered in part due to the right products not being available at the right price with realistic delivery times. Simply advocating a ban on the sale of internal combustion engine and plug-in hybrid models is not the answer.”

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive: 

SMMT International Automotive Summit - Mike Hawes - Image 1

“It’s extremely concerning that government has seemingly moved the goalposts for consumers and industry on such a critical issue. Manufacturers are fully invested in a zero emissions future, with some 60 plug-in models now on the market and 34 more coming in 2020. However, with current demand for this still expensive technology still just a fraction of sales, it’s clear that accelerating an already very challenging ambition will take more than industry investment. This is about market transformation, yet we still don’t have clarity on the future of the plug-in car grant – the most significant driver of EV uptake – which ends in just 60 days’ time, while the UK’s charging network is still woefully inadequate.

“If the UK is to lead the global zero emissions agenda, we need a competitive marketplace and a competitive business environment to encourage manufacturers to sell and build here. A date without a plan will merely destroy value today. So we therefore need to hear how government plans to fulfil its ambitions in a sustainable way, one that safeguards industry and jobs, allows people from all income groups and regions to adapt and benefit, and, crucially, does not undermine sales of today’s low emission technologies, including popular hybrids, all of which are essential to deliver air quality and climate change goals now.”

AA president Edmund King:

Edmund King, President, AA

“Drivers support measures to clean up air quality and reduce CO2 emissions but these stretched targets are incredibly challenging. Stretching target and a ban on hybrids could backfire as drivers keep petrol/diesel cars longer. Needs fiscal incentives – ie scrapping VAT on EVs.”