The ban on new petrol and diesel cars could be brought forward to 2030 under plans being considered by the Government, it has been reported.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the acceleration of the ban to force the shift to electric vehicles more quickly as part of a wider package of clean energy policies.
The ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars was initially planned for 2040 but earlier this year the Government indicated that it wanted to implement it five years early, in 2035. Now, according to the Guardian, it intends to move the date forward again as part of an effort to make the UK a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
According to the Guardian, Mr Johnson was due to announce the new policy in September but it has been put back until later in the autumn due to the rising number of coronavirus cases.
The plan reportedly has the backing of the advisory Committee on Climate Change but Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said it could have a devastating effect on the car industry.
He told Auto Express: “The range of electrified vehicles on the market today is ever increasing but we need a fully-funded strategy that mandates a massive investment in infrastructure, helps all consumers to make the switch and supports a competitive UK industry.
“Pulling forward the phase-out date by a decade to 2030 could have a devastating impact on the UK automotive industry and jobs, with the equally unintended consequence of undermining sales of today’s low emission technologies, which are needed to make environmental improvements now.”
The news comes as data from the Department for Transport revealed that the sale of EVs and hybrid cars overtook diesel sales between April and June this year, with 33,000 new EVs and hybrids compared with 29,900 diesel models. Data from the SMMT shows EV sales are up 157 per cent year-on-year but still represent five per cent of the market.
The proposed ban would cover all petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans, leaving buyers with a choice of electric car or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle - of which there are currently only two on the market.
If it is implemented the ban would put the UK ahead of France, which plans to ban ICE cars from 2040, and bring it in line with Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland.