Motorists misinformed about 2040 ban of 'conventional petrol and diesel' vehicles

A ban on new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040 as part of efforts to tackle air pollution could prove disastrous for Northern Ireland's energy supply, the Ulster Unionists have warned.

A new electric auto station was opened in Cambridge today, one of nearly a thousand set to be opened across the country by the end of next year.

The move is one of a series of measures aimed at reducing emissions in the United Kingdom and is contained in a new air quality plan.

"Today we are confirming that that means there should be no new diesel or petrol vehicles by 2040", Mr Gove told BBC Radio on Wednesday.

The UK government has published its plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide, which includes banning the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars as of 2040. Although many electric vehicle owners have charging points at home, it is only possible if they have a driveway close to their house.

"Our modelling shows that 79 percent of new cars could be electric by 2040 in the United Kingdom even under existing policies, thanks to rapidly falling battery costs", said Albert Cheung, analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. "I know it's 23 years away but it is going to be a huge bill for both industry and consumers".

With the combined populations of the United Kingdom and France alone, millions of people will have to switch to electric cars.

British motorists who buy an electric vehicle in the United Kingdom at the moment can benefit from up to £4,500 towards their low-emissions vehicle.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said the commitment to phase out sales of diesel cars was "welcome", but "Londoners suffering right now simply can't afford to wait until 2040".

All cars allowed to be sold in the United Kingdom have to adhere to exactly the same emission limits, regardless of size or shape.

And this week, German carmaker BMW said an all-electric Mini would join the fleet of vehicles produced at its Oxford, England, plant in 2019.

"Councils now need to see more details to make sure these plans are as effective as possible".

If the recommended measures are not sufficient to ensure legal compliance, local authorities can consider introducing restrictions on polluting vehicles using affected roads or introducing charging.

"Currently demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles is growing but still at a very low level as consumers have concerns over affordability, range and charging points".

It's a move the British government says is needed because of the impact that poor air quality is having on public health. The plan is to urge local jurisdictions to reduce emissions first, by fitting diesel vehicles with filters, changing road layouts and removing speed humps. As Jalopnik reported this month, the worldwide electric vehicle industry faces fundamental resource constraints like potential shortages of battery materials including lithium and particularly cobalt, which will require a lot of research into scalable alternatives.

  • Wendy Palmer