Transport experts in the UK call for tougher rules to slow petrol and diesel sales

by Julian Rendell, Autocar UK 17 Jul 2018

Stricter action to slow the sale of new combustion-engined cars will be needed if the UK government is to hit its target for zero-emissions transport by 2040, a conference was told last week.

“Consumers do not have responsibility for this problem; we can’t expect them to have the solution,” said Jillian Anable, professor of transport and energy at the University of Leeds, at the annual LowCVP conference in London. “It is only policy that has led to [OEM] product policy. Why should the consumer be expected to lead the change?”

Electrified plug-in vehicles currently account for about 2 percent of the UK market – a share that has taken about seven years to establish.

To achieve 100 percent of new car sales in the next 22 years – will require “regulation, regulation, regulation,” said Anable during the conference, which was organised by LowCVP, a forum for industry and UK government officials to discuss decarbonising road transport.

Speaking at the same event, Bob Moran, head of the environment strategy at the Department of Transport and one of the authors of the UK government’s 'Road to Zero' white papers, stressed that there will be “no bans” on any type of combustion-engine car.

“The 2040 policy will be technology led - there will be no bans,” he said.

The UK government will set targets for new car sales to comprise “50-70 percent ultra-low emissions” vehicles by 2030, rising to 100 percent zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV) by 2040.

UK's definition of ZEV also emerged in the White Paper: a car capable of 50 miles of continuous zero-emissions driving.

A vociferous critic of the car industry, Greg Archer of Transport and Environment, pointed the finger at the car industry for failing to increase the supply of electric cars.

“Demand for BEVs is limited by supply. There has not been any increase in production since about 2013 when the BMW i3 was launched. Today nine models account for 91 percent of electric car sales,” he said.

Speaking for Volkswagen, its head of corporate PR Paul Buckett, predicted that the car industry would change more in the next five years than in the last 50.

“By 2025, VW Group will have launched 80 new EVs and by 2030 there will be EV versions of 300 models in the group,” said Buckett.

The managing director of LowCVP, Andy Eastlake, also stressed there wouldn’t be a ban on combustion-engined cars.

“We haven’t banned horses and I am not aware that we are going to ban combustion-engined cars,” he said.