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Car industry frustrated as Rishi Sunak expected to push back 2030 ban on petrol and

Members of the British car industry, including the boss of Ford UK, have expressed disbelief after it was reported that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is looking to postpone the planned ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030.

According to government spokespeople, the change is designed to help Britain achieve its net zero target in a “better, more proportionate away” without putting extra financial pressure on hard-up British motorists.

However, no sooner had the story emerged than Ford, one of the leading employers in the UK automotive industry, called for the government to hold course on its automotive strategy.

Ford calls for consistency

In a statement, Ford UK chair Lisa Brankin stated that the move could undermine the UK’s position as a leading light in addressing the impact of climate change.

Brankin said: “Three years ago the government announced the UK’s transition to electric new car and van sales from 2030. The auto industry is investing to meet that challenge.

“Ford has announced a global $50billion (£40.5bn) commitment to electrification, launching nine electric vehicles by 2025. The range is supported by £430million invested in Ford’s UK development and manufacturing facilities, with further funding planned for the 2030 timeframe.

“This is the biggest industry transformation in over a century and the UK 2030 target is a vital catalyst to accelerate Ford into a cleaner future.

“Our business needs three things from the UK government: ambition, commitment and consistency. A relaxation of 2030 would undermine all three. We need the policy focus trained on bolstering the EV market in the short term and supporting consumers while headwinds are strong: infrastructure remains immature, tariffs loom and cost-of-living is high.”

Ford's shift to electrification
A Ford engineer explains how new electric propulsion systems are being developed for the company’s vehicles

Other industry figures have echoed Ford’s frustration. Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which represents the British car industry, said:

“The automotive industry has and continues to invest billions in new electric vehicles as the decarbonisation of road transport is essential if net zero is to be delivered. Government has played a key part in bringing some of that investment to the UK, and Britain can – and should – be a leader in zero emission mobility both as a manufacturer and market.

“To make this a reality, however, consumers must want to make the switch, which requires from government a clear, consistent message, attractive incentives and charging infrastructure that gives confidence rather than anxiety. Confusion and uncertainty will only hold them back.”

Stellantis, the car making group that includes the Vauxhall, Fiat, Citroen and Peugeot brands, said it is committed to achieving “100 per cent zero emission new car and van sales in the UK and Europe by 2030” and agreed with Ford that clarity is needed from the government.

Jaguar Land Rover that it is investing £15bn over the next five years to electrify its luxury brands, which is key to it reaching its net zero targets by 2039. The investment includes building a £4bn electric vehicle battery factory in Somerset

BMW recently committed to building the new electric Mini Cooper at its Oxford plant.

Paul Hollick, chair of the Association of Fleet Operators, which represents businesses with company car and van schemes, called into question the government’s seriousness about business and environmental commitment.

“We’ll wait to see what the prime minister announces but given that the motor industry and their fleet customers have spent literally billions working towards the 2030 target and take the issue of zero emissions very seriously, any major change would reflect poorly on how sincerely this administration takes both the needs of business and the environment.

“This is a crucial subject where massive investments have been made and is not just something that should be politicked in the expectation of short-term gain. Really, what we want to see is more help from the government in order to meet the 2030 deadline, especially when it comes to light commercial vehicles.”

The AA said the 2030 target was “ambitious but achievable”, calling for more support from the government on charging infrastructure.

Robert Llewellyn, electric vehicle advocate and founder of the Fully Charged Show, said he can understand Ford’s ire, given the investment so far in meeting the deadline.

“What remains of the UK car industry, as evidenced by this week’s statement from the SMMT demonstrated, is unified behind the need to accelerate the battery electric vehicle market in the UK,” he said. “Any dilution of the ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) mandate will have the opposite effect on BEV (battery-electric vehicle) adoption in the UK and it is little wonder that businesses like Ford, that rely on long-term stability, are frustrated.

“The UK cannot exempt itself from this global megatrend, and we are in danger of being on the outside looking in as all of our neighbours profit from the electric revolution.”

Rishi Sunak to outline plans this afternoon

The Prime Minister has announced that he is to deliver a speech at 4.30pm this afternoon, after news broke that he was planning to water down his green targets. The revised plans are expected to include weakening the government’s commitment to phase out gas boilers for homes, in addition to pushing back the 2030 ban on new pure-combustion vehicles by five years.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman backed the Prime Minister, telling Radio 4’s Today Programme that Sunak is being “pragmatic” given the cost of living crisis, and applauded him for making difficult decisions.

However, critics exist even within his own party, with the BBC reporting one Conservative as calling a backtrack the “greatest mistake” of Sunak’s premiership, while Lord Zac Goldsmith accused the UK of “turning its back on future generations”.

Muddied waters for consumers

This is just the latest controversy surrounding the 2030 ICE ban. Since the announcement was made by former PM Boris Johnson, there has been no clarity regarding the level of hybrid assistance required for such vehicles between 2030 ban on new pure-petrol and pure-diesel cars, and the outright ban on combustion engines from 2035.

Meanwhile, the ZEV mandate, which comes into force from 2024, is designed to push car makers towards selling more electric cars in incremental stages up to the 2030 ICE ban. At presents it will require vehicle makers to ensure at least 22 per cent of their new car sales and 10 per cent of new vans are zero emissions next year, rising incrementally each year to 80 per cent for cars and 70 per cent for vans in 2030, then 100 per cent for both by 2035.

However, the latest reports call into question the ZEV mandate as well.

While car makers such as BMW and JLR have announced millions of pounds worth of investment in UK electric vehicle manufacturing, changes to government policy could jeopardise this investment and any future funding that might keep the UK car industry competitive on the global stage.

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This article was originally published by a www.driving.co.uk . Read the Original article here. .

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