UK ‘Road to Zero’ plan published to outline steps toward 2040 ban

09 July 2018

9 July 2018

The UK Government has set out more details of its plan to ban the sale of traditional petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

The ′Road to Zero’ paper includes a number of proposals covering areas such as how to reduce emissions from vehicles already on the country’s roads, driving uptake of cleaner vehicles and ensuring that the UK is a leader in technology. The report also highlights the infrastructure commitments required, for both electric (EV) and hydrogen (FCV) vehicles.

The plan calls for the ban of petrol and diesel vehicles to be brought in by 2040, as originally agreed. However, there is no mention of strict rules regarding the distance vehicles can travel on electric power only, as had been previously reported. Instead, the paper suggests that by 2050, the Government ′wants almost every car and van in the UK to be zero emission.’

′The Clean Growth Strategy set out a broad range of possible ultra-low emission vehicle uptake levels in 2030 (30-70% of new car sales and up to 40% of new van sales). Our ambition is to reach the upper end of these ranges. We want to see at least 50%, and as many as 70%, of new car sales being ultra-low emission by 2030 to improve the air we breathe, help ensure we meet our future carbon budgets and to build a new market for zero-emission vehicle technologies in the UK,’ the paper states.

The document also suggests that a £400 million (€451 million) Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will be established to help accelerate deployment of EV charging points. The new Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill will help ensure that charge points are available at motorway services and large fuel retailers and that they are accessible across the UK, with a uniform method of accessing them. There is also a provision to ensure that all new homes built in the coming years feature an EV charging station, while new street lighting columns will also be able to charge electric vehicles.

Existing fleets

In order to ensure that the Clean Air Strategy is not distorted by existing vehicles, the Government has suggested that it will increase the supply and sustainability of low carbon fuels in the UK through a legally-binding 15-year strategy to more than double their use. In addition, it will extend the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) beyond buses, coaches and HGVs to include vans and black cabs, and take steps to accelerate the adoption of fuel-efficient motoring by company car drivers, businesses operating fleets, and private motorists. Garages that offer the removal of emissions reduction technology will also be targeted.

Speaking about the plan, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes said: ′We welcome the Strategy’s acknowledgement of the need for a technology neutral approach and the news that there will be no ban of any particular technology. There are already a range of low and zero emission technologies available to suit the needs of different drivers.

′We are concerned about targets for ULEV penetration that go far beyond the high levels of expectation proposed by the European Commission. Achieving 50% market share would require a nearly 23-fold increase in uptake from the current position of just 2.2%. These new technologies, and the lengthy investment required to deliver them cannot be fast-tracked. We need realistic ambition levels and measures that support industry’s efforts, allow manufacturers time to invest, innovate and sell competitively, and provide the right incentives and infrastructure to take the consumer with us.’