Bri­tain to ban sale of new diesel and gaso­line cars by 2040

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - LEONORE SCHICK

LON­DON — Bri­tain will ban the sale of new cars and vans us­ing diesel and gaso­line start­ing in 2040 as part of a sweep­ing plan to tackle air pol­lu­tion that ex­perts say is fea­si­ble, if am­bi­tious.

The gov­ern­ment an­nounce­ment Wed­nes­day fol­lows sim­i­lar moves in France and Nor­way and comes amid a global de­bate on how quickly elec­tric and hy­brid cars can re­place in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines. Tra­di­tional en­gines run­ning on diesel and gaso­line are still pop­u­lar with con­sumers as they’re rel­a­tively cheap and do not face some lim­its of elec­tric cars, such as a lim­ited range.

But with the tech­nol­ogy for elec­tric and hy­brid cars im­prov­ing, gov­ern­ments are try­ing to set longterm goals to help guide the in­vest­ments of au­tomak­ers and, ul­ti­mately, con­sumers’ choices.

Bri­tain’s gov­ern­ment said it would put up US$326 mil­lion to help lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties ad­dress diesel pol­lu­tion. The mea­sures are part of a clean air strat­egy that au­thor­i­ties pub­lished only days be­fore a dead­line man­dated by the High Court.

The gov­ern­ment plan in­cludes the con­sid­er­a­tion of a tar­geted scrap­page scheme for driv­ers who need sup­port and to pro­vide an in­cen­tive to switch ve­hi­cles. It also aims for “al­most every car and van on the road to be a zero emis­sion ve­hi­cle by 2050,” the gov­ern­ment said in its overview of the pro­gram.

Fred­erik Dahlmann, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of global en­ergy at War­wick Busi­ness School, de­scribed the plans as “am­bi­tious but re­al­is­tic.”

“I am con­fi­dent enough that the in­dus­try will be able to re­spond within that time­line,” he said.

It would, how­ever, re­quire sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment in the in­fra­struc­ture, such as a network of charg­ing sta­tions, that is re­quired to make elec­tric and hy­brid ve­hi­cles more widely pop­u­lar. An­other point of fo­cus is im­prov­ing bat­ter­ies so that they last longer.

So far, growth in elec­tric and hy­brid ve­hi­cle sales has been strong, but from a low base.

An­a­lyt­ics com­pany IHS Markit es­ti­mate that sales of in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines are ex­pected to fall from 17 mil­lion ve­hi­cles in 2015 across the EU to about 12 mil­lion in 2025, which would still make up a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of cars on the road.

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