Hybrid cars and vans will not be included in a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel models from 2040, according to the Government’s recently published plans.
The Road to Zero strategy, which outlines how the UK will shift away from traditional internal combustion-engined vehicles, has been revealed and suggests new hybrid vehicles will still be available by the deadline.
However, it could soon become more expensive to buy electric and hybrid models beyond 2020, with the suggestion that government grants subsidising low-emissions cars could be reduced.
Hybrid survival: The Road to Zero strategy suggests new hybrid cars with ‘significant zero emissions capability’ will still be sold when the 2040 ban on petrol and diesel comes around
From 2040, only hybrids with significant electric-only ranges – believed to be 50 miles in full zero-emissions mode – will be available to the market, the plans outlined.
The Department for Transport said the policy ‘does not speculate on which technologies might help to deliver the Government’s 2040 mission’ and added that it has ‘no plans to ban any particular technology – like hybrids – as part of this strategy’.
The eagerly anticipated policy was revealed in a 130-page document on Monday, which sets out an ambition for at least half of new car sales to be ‘ultra low emission’ by 2030.
And while it stuck to the original strategy of banning petrol and diesel new car sales in 2040, it said it expects all new cars and vans in showroom from that date to be 100 per cent zero emissions or to have ‘significant zero emissions capability’.
However, the policy suggests the allowance for hybrids might not last long.
By 2050, the Government wants almost every car and van to be zero emissions.
The proposals could see a massive expansion of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, including the installation of hundreds of thousands more charge points.
Under the plans, new homes and offices may be required to install charge points as standard.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘The coming decades are going to be transformative for our motor industry, our national infrastructure and the way we travel.
‘We expect to see more change in the transport sector over the next 10 years than we have in the previous century.
‘We are expecting our economy and society to experience profound change, which is why we have marked the Future of Mobility as one of the four Grand Challenges as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.
‘The Road to Zero strategy sets out a clear path for Britain to be a world leader in the zero emission revolution – ensuring that the UK has cleaner air, a better environment and a stronger economy.’
The Road to Zero policy suggested that grants put in place by the government to help drivers buy expensive electric and hybrid cars will be reduced from 2020
The AA said it was pleased that the Government had stood by the 2040 target for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emissions, but said there is a need for ‘structured targets to help consumers, councils and car companies’ to work towards the targets.
This includes more clarity about incentives – especially subsidies towards the purchase price of expensive new electric cars, like the existing Plug-in Car Grant.
‘Technology will change radically in the next few years so it is sensible to review progress in 2025 and it is a constructive ambition for 50 to 70 per cent of new car sales to be ultra-low emission by 2030,’ said AA President, Edmund King.
‘The possibility that plug-in vehicle grants may be withdrawn by 2020, risks stalling the take up of low emission vehicles, unless there is a dramatic reduction in the initial purchase price by that time.
‘We will still need financial incentives beyond 2020 to act as catalyst for further investment in electric vehicles and infrastructure.’
The strategy suggested that grants and other consumer incentives in some form will continue to play a role in driving the uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles beyond 2020.
Currently, just 38 vehicles on sale in the UK qualify for the existing Plug-in Car Grant. The existing rates being offered – £4,500 off pure-electric models and up to £2,500 off hybrids – are due to expire in October
However, the Road to Zero document states: ‘As the market becomes better established and more competitive, the need for direct government financial support will decrease.
‘We therefore expect to deliver a managed exit from the grant in due course and to continue to support the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles through other measures.’
Currently, just 38 vehicles on sale are eligible for the Plug-in Car Grant.
The scheme offers up to £4,500 off pure-electric new cars and a lower subsidy of £2,500 for plug-in hybrid models.
These rates are due to expire in October this year, though the Government had committed to retaining low-emission vehicle grants – potentially with reduced savings – until 2020.