Hybrid cars – like Toyota’s Prius – could be banned from sale in 2040 along with traditional petrol and diesel cars, leaked reports claim.
Additional restrictions for the sale of new vehicles are said to be being put in place by law-makers after the government was warned that stricter policy was needed to reduce dangerous air pollution levels in the country.
Details of the leaked ‘Road to Zero’ strategy revealed new measures that will see the UK shift to a network of pure electric vehicles in the future.
The UK motor industry has slammed the plans on Friday, blasting the ‘unrealistic targets’ and ‘misleading messaging on bans’.
Hybrid ban: Moves to restrict the sale of new hybrid cars in 2040 would spell the end for the Uber-favourite Toyota Prius
The restriction will see any new cars incapable of travelling more than 50 miles using just electric power banned from sale in 2040.
As a result, volume-selling hybrid cars like the Prius and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – which claim to only be able to cover around 30 miles without the combustion engine being used – would be pulled from showrooms if they were still on sale at the time.
According to Autocar, around 50 hybrid and plug-in hybrid models on the market today would be deemed not environmentally friendly enough to be allowed to go on sale.
In fact, the rules would outlaw around 98 per cent of all vehicles currently in use in the UK, being sold when restrictions are in place in 22 years’ time.
The Road to Zero policy is expected to be an extension of DEFRA’s (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) ‘Clean Growth Strategy’ announcement last July by Michael Gove.
It proposed to block the sale of petrol and diesel cars in that year, but still allow hybrids to be offered.
Environment secretary Michael Gove announced DEFRA’s Clean Air Strategy last July, proposing the ban of new petrol and diesel cars to meet air pollution targets
All cars sold from 2040 would need to be able to cover 50 miles on electric power only, the Road to Zero policy is expected to state
However, these plans were criticised by the Committee for Climate Change in January who warned ministers that additional targets for 2020 and 2030 needed to be put in place if the government was serious about meeting its legally-biding air pollution targets.
It estimated that, in order to achieve emissions objectives, three in every five vehicles purchased by 2030 – 10 years before the petrol and diesel deadline – will need to be ultra-low emissions models.
The additional measures reportedly being put in place by Mr Gove and business secretary Greg Clark should make these targets more achievable.
The Financial Times reports that transport secretary Chris Grayling has resisted the plans, though.
Around 50 hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars on sale today are unable to achieve 50 miles using just electric power. The Prius PHV can only cover just over 30 miles before the petrol engine engages
A ban would also be a blow the best-selling plug-in model in recent years, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
If bans were to be introduced it would mount additional pressure on car manufacturers to fast-track the development of electric vehicles and ditch hybrid plans that have undergone enormous investments.
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes criticised the proposals as being ‘based neither on fact nor substance’.
He said: ‘Unrealistic targets and misleading messaging on bans will only undermine our efforts to realise this future, confusing consumers and wreaking havoc on the new car market and the thousands of jobs it supports.
‘We cannot support ambition levels which do not appreciate how industry, the consumer or the market operate and which are based neither on fact nor substance.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, slammed the reports of a 2040 hybrid ban
‘If Government wants the UK to be a global leader in zero emission transport it must provide a world class package of incentives and support to make this a credible policy.
‘This includes ensuring we have the right infrastructure in place with sufficient charging points and energy supply.
‘Consumers need clear information about the right vehicles for their driving needs and it is again disappointing for both industry and consumers that vitally important information about government policy is being communicated by leaks.’
A spokesman for the Department for Transport has refuted the reports, saying: ‘We do not comment on leaked draft documents.
‘The Road to Zero strategy is yet to be finalised and has not been agreed by ministers.
‘It is categorically untrue that Government is planning to ban the sale of hybrid [and plug-in hybrid] cars in the UK by 2040.’
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