Election 2017: Tories call for 'almost every' car to be electric by 2050

Almost all new cars and vans would have to be electric by 2050 if the Conservatives win the general election, while the Lib Dems would impose a diesel scrappage scheme

Words ByDarren Moss

Need a valuation?

Obtain a FREE used car valuation for any vehicle.


Election 2017

There will be a general election in the UK on 8 June, with each of the country's 650 parliamentary constituencies electing a new Member of Parliament (MP) to sit in the House of Commons. But what do the different parties have planned for motorists should they be elected?

The latest (18 May): Conservatives to make zero emissions an MOT test requirement

Almost all cars and vans will have to be electric by 2050 under a Conservative government, the party's manifesto has revealed. The Conservative Party says that to reach its target, the MOT test will require zero emissions to pass. Some classic cars would still be exempt under the plans, but the party hasn't revealed what the cut-off year will be. On average, cars registered in 2036 would be the first to be affected by the proposals.

In its manifesto, the party states that it "will invest Β£600 million by 2020" to acheive its plans.

The uptake of low-emission and electric vehicles has been increasing in the UK, helped by better driving ranges from vehicle batteries and the government's own electric vehicle grant of up to Β£4500. Despite that, such cars still represent a small portion of the market. So far in 2017, the 39,678 alternatively-fuelled vehicles which have been bought make up just 4.1% of total sales.

The Conservative Party manifesto also calls for more investment in electric vehicle batteries, as well as "continued development of the road network, including extra lanes on our motorways and improving key routes". There will also be further investment in low-emission buses, as well as a focus on improving air quality in our biggest cities.

17 May: Liberal Democrats call for diesel car ban

The sale of new diesel cars and small vans would be banned by 2025 if the Liberal Democrats win the general election.

The plans, revealed in the party's manifesto, also call for a diesel scrappage scheme to encourage the uptake of low-emissions and electric vehicles (which includes hybrids and full EVs), as well as the creation of new 'clean air zones' across the country. Proposals announced by the Conservative government earlier this month have already suggested similar moves through a targeted diesel scrappage scheme, which it's hoped could remove as many as 15,000 older cars from UK roads.

In total, the Lib Dems are calling for 10 more towns and cities to create ultra-low-emission zones (ULEZs), in a similar style to the one already operating in London. Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham and Southampton are already planning to introduce such schemes by the end of 2019.

Additionally, the party says it will "reform vehicle taxation" to encourage the uptake of low-emission vehicles. What Car? understands that the proposals would do away with the premium car tax introduced this year, and will instead focus purely on emissions, and widening the gap between what regular and low-emission cars pay with new VED bands.

The most recent changes to car tax did away with many of the tax benefits associated with hybrid cars.

Future Lib Dem measures to encourage public uptake of low-emission cars could include reversing or amending the latest tax changes, or widening the scope of the existing electric vehicle grant, which currently stands at a maximum of Β£4500.

Finally, the manifesto states that private hire cars and diesel buses that operate in cities will be required to run on low-emission fuels within five years.

In its manifesto, the Lib Dems say that air pollution "contributes to 40,000 premature deaths a year and costs the NHS Β£15 billion. This year, London exceeded its annual air pollution target in just five days. The government has failed time and again to comply with European Union (EU) limits on pollution."

More passive measures put forward in the manifesto include supporting the manufacture of more electric vehicles, and expanding the infrastructure for charging those cars through new universal charging points.

While the Liberal Democrats in reality have little chance of winning the election outright – the party currently has just nine seats in Parliament – if there is a neeed for a coalition, then it could insist on its plans being included within a joint plan for government.

What have the other parties said?

The Labour Party

The Labour manifesto states that "our plans will encourage and enable people to get out of their cars, for better health and a cleaner environment."

Specific plans include the retrofitting of diesel buses to bring them in line with Euro 6 emissions standards, reforming legislation governing taxi and private hire services to ensure "a level playing field between operators," scrapping tolls on the Severn Bridge linking England and Wales and upgrading the UK's motorway network.

Got a motoring question? Our experts are standing by to help, just tweet us your question using #askwhatcar

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here