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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

UK lawmakers call for ban on traditional cars by 2032

Recommendations indicate pressure on PM Theresa May to step up efforts on protecting the environment

Even the iconic black cabs in London have moved to become electric vehicles. AP
Even the iconic black cabs in London have moved to become electric vehicles. AP

Britain should ban gasoline and diesel-fuelled cars by 2032 in a shift toward zero-emissions vehicles, a panel of lawmakers from the main parties in Parliament said.

The Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee in the House of Commons said the government should implement the ban by 2032, eight years earlier than the current target, and that failing to do so would undermine promises to reduce air pollution by over two thirds by 2050.

The recommendations indicate pressure on prime minister Theresa May to step up efforts on protecting the environment. While the government has said it wants to be a world leader in rolling out electric cars, the panel said that ambition will require more support for companies to deploy the charging infrastructure necessary to spur a shift away from fossil fuels in transportation.

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“For all the rhetoric of the UK becoming a world leader in EVs, the reality is that the government’s deeds do not match the ambitions of their words,” said Rachel Reeves, chair of the business energy and industrial strategy committee. “The UK government’s targets on zero-emissions vehicles are unambitious and vague, giving little clarity or incentive to industry or the consumer to invest in electric cars.”

The report released by the panel on Friday titled ‘Electric vehicles: driving the transition’ called on government to increase investment and ease consumers’ concerns over switching to a zero-emission vehicle.

In July 2017, the UK pledged to ban the sales of traditional combustion engine vehicles by 2040. It was part of a push to invest more than £800 million (Dh3.7 billion) in driverless and zero-emission technology. That included £246 million of investment in battery technology research.

At least 17 million zero-emission vehicles may be on British streets by 2040, a separate report release on Thursday showed. That would require three million charging points and billions of dollars of investment, said Aurora Energy Research. Bloomberg NEF estimates that new EV car sales could grow to 60 million a year by 2040.

“Government support for more publicly accessible rapid charging now will tackle a key barrier to EVs,” said Graeme Cooper, National Grid’s project director of EVs. “Providing not only a boost to the UK car industry whilst ensuring we become a world leader in this growing market but also delivering cleaner air and lower carbon emissions.”