Safety

Does the 2040 Petrol and Diesel Ban Include Hybrid Cars?

Aug 10 2018 Read 173 Times

The UK is a global leader in climate change action, with a nationwide ban on petrol and diesel cars set to sweep England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by 2040. While transport secretary Chris Grayling has confirmed that sales of fossil fuel-powered vehicles will no longer be allowed come 2040, he has revealed that hybrid cars will be exempt. The move has been welcomed by the automotive industry, though environmental campaigners were quick to slam the policy, which will permit sales of petrol and diesel hybrid cars beyond 2040.

The Road to Zero

Both the petrol and diesel ban and the hybrid "grace period" are part of the government's Road to Zero strategy, which aims to slash car pollution and combat climate change. Major targets include ensuring at least 50% of new cars are ultra-low emission by 2030, as well as enabling a nationwide roll-out of technology and infrastructure designed to support the electric vehicle revolution. This includes the launch of a £400 million charging fund that will see hundreds of thousands of stations installed across the UK.

“I want it to be easier for electric vehicle drivers to recharge than for motorists to visit a filling station," he says. "I want them to choose electric cars because they are so convenient.”

Government slammed for weakening climate change commitments

Grayling maintains that exempting hybrid cars from the ban will help foster a smooth transition from fossil fuels to electric, though environmental groups like Greenpeace aren't as supportive. The organisation has come under fire for contradicting its climate change commitments and issuing a "free pass" to the automotive industry.

The Campaign for Better Transport has described the policy as "disappointing" and warns it's a "step backwards" for the UK and will "water down the already inadequate 2040 target.”

Grayling disagrees, stressing that the move is "about supporting the industry to deliver it and encouraging changes to consumer behaviour."

His attitude is mirrored by chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Mike Hawes, who asserts “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.”

The lithium-ion debate

From the Nissan Leaf to the Tesla Model 3, lithium-ion batteries are powering the electric vehicle revolution. While they're hailed for a high energy density and low self-discharge rate, there is also plenty of controversy surrounding the technology. Offering expert commentary from Gesellschaft für Gerätebau (GfG) manager Hans-Jörg Hübner, 'Risks and side effects: The underestimated dangers of lithium-ion batteries' introduces nickel metal hydride batteries as a safer, more reliable alternative.

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