Will the 2030 petrol and diesel car ban have consequences for car buyers?

A reader asks if the petrol and diesel ban includes secondhand cars and if the high cost of replacement batteries for older electric vehicles will make them worthless...

Audi E-tron at Ionity electric car charging station

I've read your article about the proposed ban of petrol and diesel cars from 2030 and have some questions. 

The average internal combustion-engined car has a lifespan of around 20 years and will run well beyond 100,000 miles; diesels can often do more than 200,000 miles. 

Electric cars with the current battery technology only have a guaranteed warranty of up to 100,000 miles or eight to 10 years, depending on the manufacturer. It seems to me that when these cars reach the end of their warranty period, they will, in effect, be worthless, because potential replacement battery costs are stratospheric, with figures of £8000 to £10,000 or more seemingly being the norm. This is far beyond the economic value of many of the vehicles, so surely this will destroy their residual values and render the purchase of new electric cars something only for rich people who can afford to take such a loss. 

Do you have information on the expected battery life of electric vehicles and the cost of replacement battery packs?  My concern is that £10,000 would probably buy a replacement engine for a Porsche, but you'd need to spend this amount on far humbler electric cars much sooner.

Volkswagen ID 3 battery pack

My other question is whether the sale of second-hand internal combustion cars will also be banned from 2030?  If not, surely there will be a boom in the used car market? Conversely, if they are banned, who will want to buy a new car now, knowing that it can only be used for nine years, after which it will be worthless? 

Gordon Thompson

What Car? says...

Although there do appear to have been issues with a significant loss of range – a drop of up to 50% – in some early Nissan Leafs, which are now coming up to 10 years old, this is not the case with all EVs.

In fact, in most instances, EV battery life has far exceeded initial expectations, with owners able to cover up to 200,000 miles on the same battery without it suffering too much degradation. For example, some Tesla owners report that their cars have lost only 10% of capacity after 100,000 miles.

And as battery technology improves, so too will their ability to retain capacity more efficiently. With the petrol and diesel car ban just over nine years away, that should give battery manufacturers adequate time to improve the durability of their products. 

We believe that it would be unusual for a car to need to have its entire battery pack replaced, because in most cases the degradation will only have occurred in certain cell blocks and these can be replaced separately. This means the cost of refurbishing the battery should be far less than the price of around £8000 for a new pack. 

Range Rover plug-in hybrid

Certain sectors of the automotive aftermarket are always on the lookout for new services and products they can provide, and some are already offering to recondition EV batteries at a far lower cost than buying a new pack. As the need for these increases, those providing this service will also increase, potentially lowering prices further.  

With regard to the ban on petrol and diesel cars from 2030, this only applies to new vehicles, including hybrids, although the ban on the sale of new plug-in hybrids that can do a small number of miles on pure electric power isn’t happening until 2035.

We believe that a combination of financial incentives for buyers to switch to electric cars and manufacturers offering EVs at more affordable prices are both likely to prevent a surge in uptake for conventional petrol and diesel-engined cars shortly before the ban comes into effect.

Many car makers are already dropping diesel engines from their line-ups, particularly on smaller models, and a fairly high percentage have already stated that they will only be selling EVs within the next five to 10 years, so we think many buyers will already be considering electric cars by the time the ban comes into force. 

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