2030 deadline poses ‘huge challenges’

A report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has found that there are still “huge challenges” to overcome if the government is going to meet its 2030 deadline to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.

The cost of electric vehicles and the lack of charging infrastructure remain the greatest obstacles.

Only three per cent of vehicles sold in 2019 were ultra-low emission. That rose to 11% last year but the government has been urge to publish a plan detailing how it intends to increase that to 100% in 2030.

It found that just 13 EV models under £30,000 is not enough, while the daily rate of charge point installations needs to rise from 26 to 507 to meet targets.

The PAC report said: “The [government] departments have deliberately sought to make interventions on a UK-wide basis, but take-up has been greatest where there are high levels of traffic, charge-points and affluence.”

Committee chair Meg Hillier MP said: “The government has a mountain to climb to get all new cars in the UK zero carbon in the next 14 years: to convince consumers and make the cars appealing, to make the car industry environmentally and socially compliant, to build the necessary infrastructure to support this radical shift and possibly biggest of all, to wean itself off carbon revenues.”

RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said: “While the 2030 deadline is a huge challenge, the number of drivers choosing electric vehicles is higher than ever and with more new models coming on the market, the proportion will only grow further.

“The government’s plug-in car grant provides some incentive to purchase an electric car but there is no commitment to retain this beyond 2023 at present and we would encourage the government to continue looking at ways to incentivise take-up.

“A strong network of fast, reliable and easy to-use public charge points which allow for contactless payment, alongside measures to help those without off-street parking, are undoubtedly vital pieces to the jigsaw of making an electric vehicle become the default choice in the next few years,” Lyes added.