LONDON—The United Kingdom has given car makers until 2035 to make the switch from fossil fuels to electric vehicles, CNN Business reports. The country announced it would ban sales of new diesel and gasoline vehicles—including hybrid vehicles—five years earlier than originally planned.
The government said the new target was essential to combat climate change and would assist the country in slashing carbon emissions to “net zero” by mid-century. “We have a responsibility to our planet to lead,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Automakers pushed back against the shortened timeframe, raising issues such as whether the government would keep subsidizing EV sales, address the charging infrastructure and counter potential loss of work. “It's extremely concerning that [the] government has seemingly moved the goalposts for consumers and [the] industry on such a critical issue,” said Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. “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.”
To meet the new goal, the U.K. car market would need a complete overhaul. Currently, sales of EVs in Britain comprise only 2% of total vehicle sales, while hybrid sales register 8%. Hawes asked the government to come up with a plan to assist the industry in meeting the new goal. “If the U.K. 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,” he said.
Other countries have made similar pronouncements, including Norway (by 2025) and India (by 2030).