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UK to follow France in banning petrol and diesel cars by 2040 – going all electric

After France announced earlier this month that it plans on banning new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, now the British government is about to announce similar measures this week.

The move is in reaction to increasingly poorer air quality in the country and especially in urban regions – like London.

A government spokesman said via The Guardian:

“Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and this government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible. That is why we are providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn programme to clean up dirty air around our roads.”

Previous versions of the plan were believed to be too weak to have any impact, but the government has now reportedly updated it to include the ban by 2040.

It’s later than others’ goals, like Norway aiming for 2025, but those are just goals while France and UK seem to be actually talking about a government enforced “ban” on new car sales that are not “zero emission vehicles” like electric vehicles.

The UK recently started to think of more initiative to accelerate the deployment of electric cars, like the possibility to make gas stations install electric car chargers, which was introduced last month.

There’s already a £4,500 “plug-in grant” offered as a direct incentive to buy electric vehicles. It helped the country significantly increase its EV fleet, which now accounts for a record 4.2% share of new vehicles registered in the UK.

This new initiative that would ban petrol and diesel cars would also include the funding of the plug-in grant and other programs to facilitate the adoption of EVs in preparation for the ban.

The full plan is expected to be released in full later this week.

Electrek’s Take

As we previously reported, we think those timelines for the end of new gas-powered cars are too conservative. Once all-electric powertrains, due to the falling cost of batteries, reach cost parity with internal combustion engines before accounting for cost of operation (gas and maintenance savings), there will be virtually no reason for buyers to want gas-powered cars over battery-powered cars.

At the rate battery costs are falling, it will happen soon (between 2020 and 2025) and the industry should transition their production capacity over the following 10 years.

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