Today the Government announced that the ban on diesel and petrol cars is to be brought forward to 2030. This new projected date is significant for one very obvious reason: the date has been brought forward by a full decade and is now only ten years away. Though hybrid cars running on both petrol and battery power should be allowed to continue until 2035.

Petrol and Diesel Cars to Be Banned

Prime Minister Boris Johnson describes it as part of a ‘green industrial revolution’ – which probably isn’t as over-the-top as it initially sounds. We’ve had cars as we broadly know and understand them since 1886 (when Karl Benz successfully patented the Benz Patent-Motorwagen) with very few major changes. Yet as time has moved on we’ve become increasingly aware that cars cause pollution, and solutions have been sought. While Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) hybrids didn’t quite come up to the desired practical mark for everyday usage, electric cars have so far met with no major concerns.

In 2019 electric car sales reached 2.1 million globally, beating the previous year record. While electric cars account for roughly 2.6% of global car sales, the year-on-year increase is averaging a healthy 40%. In 2010 around 17,000 electric cars were on global roads – by 2019 this had risen to 7.2 million, with 47% of that figure being in the industry’s new favourite market; China. Here in the UK during the month of August 2019 compared to the previous year, EV demand increased 158.1%, which equates to a 1.4% market share*.

Petrol and Diesel Cars to Be Banned

Put simply, that means that as prices (slowly) come down and more and more manufacturer EV options appear and batteries improve, the public is seemingly ready for the transition from petrol and diesel to electric battery powered vehicles. Though whether the UK public are quite ready for 2030 as the cut-off date is another matter entirely. The motor industry on the other hand, has been powering in this direction now for some time, each company eager not to be the one manufacturer that gets caught sitting on its laurels.

The Government’s ‘green industrial revolution’ is designed to tackle climate change with an allocated £4bn to implement a 10-point plan – the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles is just one point on the plan – as the UK strives to become carbon-neutral. Coincidentally (timing is everything), Britain is due to host the COP26 International Climate Summit in 2021.

Petrol and Diesel Cars to Be Banned

For the consumer, the same concern continues: Range anxiety. The fear that you will run out of juice due to a lack of range and having nowhere nearby to recharge your vehicle’s batteries. Of course, EV ranges are improving all the time, and while the average is still theoretically around 180-200 miles, bear in mind that this figure takes into account lower range vehicles (22kWh batteries) as well as the likes of the Tesla Model S with a range of around 340 miles due to a higher battery capacity (90kWh). Increased range equals increased vehicle cost too, mind.

So as time goes on range anxiety should decrease – especially as more charging stations are also planned. Last August figures appeared that indicated that there were actually 1,000 more places to charge your EV than there are petrol forecourts, due in part to the fact that around 80% of standard forecourts have closed since 1970. As of 2019, there were approximately 9,000 places to charge an electric vehicle in the UK according to Production Engineering Solutions (pesmedia).

Petrol and Diesel Cars to Be Banned

The other concern is cost of ownership. The initial public view is that an EV is expensive; a petrol car will cost around half the cost of its electrically powered equivalent. But then take into consideration that the majority of new cars are acquired via a Personal Contract Plan (PCP) and that you won’t be paying for fuel in the same way that you have been used to, along with any other subsidies and incentives that exist/will exist, and the cost of ownership suddenly becomes far less daunting.

Ten years can fly by – each year becomes a smaller fraction of an entire life as we age, giving us the perception of time moving faster as we get older. So perhaps now is a good time for us all to familiarise ourselves with the rapid advances in EV technology.

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