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Government to force car makers to sell more electric vehicles

COP26 proposals include Government cash for new on-street chargers and requirements for each car maker to sell a minimum percentage of electrified vehicles...

MG ZS EV 2021 Charging

The Government plans to force car makers to sell a minimum percentage of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric cars each year as part of its latest plan to improve the uptake of greener vehicles.

The Department for Transport is expected to set steadily increasing targets for electrified vehicle sales each year until 2030, when the sale of new cars powered solely by petrol and diesel will be banned.

The move has been announced ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow, where world leaders will meet to try to reach agreement on how to tackle climate change.

Electric car ownership in the UK has been growing in recent years, and so far in 2021, sales of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric cars have accounted for 33.2% of the total. That's up from 18.5% in the same period in 2020.

Car makers already have targets related to CO2 emissions across the range of cars that they offer, and the electrified car targets are likely to work alongside these. More detail on how the mandate will work is due early in 2022.

In addition, an extra £620 million of funding will be allocated to grants designed to encourage the uptake of electrified vehicles, and improve the availability and reliability of the UK’s charging network. That means the government grant of up to £2500 towards electric cars costing less than £35,000, and the grant covering up to 75% of the cost of installing a home charger are likely to remain until at least 2035.

The focus for the improvements in charging infrastructure are expected to focus on on-street charging points, and improving access to charging for those buyers who cannot charge at home.

charging Zoe long-term lamppost

It is hoped that the initiatives will dramatically increase sales of electrified cars ahead of 2030. By 2035, only new cars and vans which offer "significant zero-emission capability" will be allowed to be sold from new.

In real terms, that means hybrids, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and electric cars are likely to be allowed up until 2035, but only PHEVs and electric cars will be sold new beyond that. It's likely that PHEVs will be banned from 2040. Indeed, the Government says it will "end the sale of all new, non-zero emission road vehicles", including buses and lorries, from that year.

It’s worth noting that as 2030 approaches, we are likely to see significant advances in battery technology. That should allow most PHEVs to comfortably do 50 miles of electric-only driving on a charge. Very few can manage that distance at the moment.

One exception is the BMW X5 xDrive45e luxury SUV, which can travel up to 54 miles, according to the WLTP test – although, in our real-world testing, that figure fell to 32.5 miles.

Shell Recharge charging point with Tesla Model 3 21-plate

Recent What Car? Research has found that one in five new car buyers are looking to go fully electric with their next purchase. Prospective shoppers said their biggest concern was the range available.

The latest initiatives were announced as part of the Government’s Net Zero strategy, which aims to make the UK economy net carbon zero by 2050. The term net carbon zero means that the amount of greenhouse gases produced in the UK does not exceed the amount taken away from the atmosphere through green initiatives.

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