The UK government has announced today that Britain will ban the sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040.
With Productiv’s focus being on the development of low carbon technologies and electric vehicles, this announcement is of particular interest to us and our partners.
Here are a few initial thoughts on what we think this announcement could mean:
This statement sends a message that the government’s firm intention is to reduce the use of fossil fuel over time – and eventually to eliminate it. The effect will be to reduce speculation and help to focus the efforts of vehicle manufacturers to produce less polluting vehicles.
In practice, it is likely that the target of zero petrol and diesel engine cars sold will be reached before 2040, as electric vehicles improve and the case for traditional engines is impacted.
Even without that effect the deadline set might result in a change in powertrain technology long before that date; which vehicle maker would start a new engine programme in say, 2035, knowing that by the time the engine reaches the market it would have a very short production life before being outlawed in major markets such as the UK, France and Germany etc. It will surely make better sense to go straight to a full electric powertrain.
It will be interesting to see how much support the government will be prepared to offer to assist the industry to achieve this goal. There is a significant amount of work to be done to improve infrastructure for battery electric vehicles and/or hydrogen fuel cell power for example, and we will wait with interest to see what incentives will be offered to encourage stakeholders to switch technologies.