Climate change: Electric car target ‘needs to be sooner’

Logo for gov.ukThe UK government’s plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 is too tame, advisers will say.

Drivers will benefit if electric cars come to dominate the new car market a full decade earlier, they will claim.

The Committee on Climate Change believes the cost of electric cars will be similar to that of petrol or diesel vehicles by 2024-5.

But the speed of installing charging points will have to radically improve to cope with the coming demand.

What is the current policy?

The UK government’s current policy is to insist that by 2040, all new cars and vans sold in the UK should be zero emissions – that means electric or hydrogen.

But critics have pointed out that would mean some older petrol and diesel vehicles will still be on the roads after 2050.

That’s the expected date by which the government should have reduced carbon emissions from all sources to zero.

How soon could British drivers be going all-electric?

The committee believes drivers can cash in by switching to zero-emissions vehicles when the price comes down.

It anticipates big savings in fuel and also in the costs of running and servicing an electric vehicle.

The committee will say 2030 would be a feasible date for the government to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.

But members have to be sure their recommendations are achievable and they’re not certain there will be enough cobalt in the world by then to build the batteries needed.

So I understand they’ll recommend that the end date for new fossil fuel-powered cars should be 2035 at the latest.