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It’s been a week since Rishi Sunak made the announcement that the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles was to be extended to 2035, yet at the same time re-affirming the Government’s aim for the UK to be net-zero by 2050.

The prime minister said in his press briefing that he expects the vast majority of cars sold between now and 2030 to be electric regardless, due to reducing costs, improving vehicle range and a growing charging infrastructure. But he did also recognise that the high up-front costs that comes in tandem with a new electric vehicle at this stage, in a cost of living crisis, makes it an unfeasible proposition for many in the UK. Not to mention that a growing charging infrastructure doesn’t mean a complete, ready-made nationwide charging network, but a work in progress.

With that said, the ban was delayed five years to 2035. But what does this delayed ban mean?

Million Dollar Question

To be clear, the ban only applies to the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles. The likelihood is that the purchasing and selling of used and second-hand ICE vehicles will continue long past 2035. Only fully electric (and the potential for some hydrogen powered) vehicles will be manufactured and sold after this date.

What’s more, the immediate reaction from Westminster was that Kier Starmer and the labour party actually intend to reverse the government’s decision and restore the original ban of 2030 if they were to be elected. With a general election set for next year, that’s one to keep an eye on but for businesses planning and strategising for the future, the uncertainty and potential for more change must be a concern.

Does this delay impact the rate at which fleets begin to transition to electric? Do some fleets begin to put their feet up at the thought of another five years before the key decisions need to be made?

When it comes to adopting an electric car from a personal or family perspective, do these decisions now get shelved for a rainy day?

Angus Leeson, International Sales Director at The Miles Consultancy said:

“By the government changing strategy like this, it could potentially mean that the everyday person that is doing everything that they can do to help, albeit small, is now going to dilute their efforts with the attitude of what’s good for them is good for us.

“The OEMs have already invested huge amounts of money into planning for the future start date of 2030 and this now impacts them with their policies and decisions going forward.

“To many, the charging network across the UK is woefully inadequate as it is and previously there was a strong message to get this up to full steam as quickly as possible. I fear that now, with the delay, the whole programme of building, growing and strengthening the infrastructure will slow down, the opposite of what should be happening.”

Nevertheless, there remains an optimism that whether it be 2030 or 2035, the large corporates might continue to lead the way in the transition to electric and perhaps in doing so, facilitate the need for continued investment to the charging infrastructure.

Barry Monks, UK Sales Director at The Miles Consultancy, said:

“I would hope that given the efforts and commitments made by manufacturers and large corporates, it won’t really have a huge detrimental impact on the car side. The real impact might be losing momentum on the transitioning of LCV’s to full BEVs.

“What’s not helping is the politics that will play out, as uncertainty as to labour gaining power and reversing the decision just adds to the confusion.

“I suspect it will have a negative impact on the rate of upgrading/deploying new charge points as pay back (ROE) model will be extended.

“On a positive, this gives corporates a little more time to understand the alternatives of how people are rewarded/how they move around. TMC are well positioned to support both the current existing policy requirements and help shape and deliver the new one which of course encompasses our new venture in Mobility iQ.”