Britain Moves Up Its ICE Vehicle Ban

Sales of new gasoline, diesel and plug-in hybrid vehicles to end in 2035
Photograph: Shutterstock

LONDON — Great Britain has moved up its planned ban of sales of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by five years—and is including plug-in hybrids in the ban.

In 2017, Great Britain under Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles starting in 2040. At the time, May’s Conservatives party vowed to make “almost every car and van” a zero-emissions vehicle by 2050.

Britain’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, also a Conservative, has revised those goals to ban the sale of new gasoline- and diesel-powered car and vans, as well as plug-in hybrids, beginning in 2035—or earlier if a quicker shift is possible, Reuters reported. While other European countries including France have announced planned bans of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles, many have excluded hybrids—which have an ICE engine and electric motor—from the mix.

“We have to deal with our CO2 emissions,” Johnson said at a preview event for the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference (COP26), taking place in November. “As a country and as a society, as a planet, as a species, we must now act.”

Gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles still make up 90% of new vehicle sales in Great Britain, which is Europe’s second-largest market for new car sales, according to Reuters. However, the country has been focused on expanding its public electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, investing an additional $3.25 million to help pay for the installation of more than 1,000 new charging points on residential streets.

Royal Dutch Shell and BP have been active in installing EV charging stations in Great Britain. Shell, based in The Hague, Netherlands, had focused expansion of its Shell Recharge EV charging service in Europe, in partnership with Allego, an EV service developer. The service launched in 2017 in the United Kingdom and expanded to the Netherlands and Singapore in 2019. Shell flipped the switch on its first U.S. EV charging station in 2019.

In 2018, BP acquired Chargemaster, the largest U.K. charging station network. It renamed the business BP Chargemaster, and in 2019 it opened the first in a nationwide network of EV charging stations planned for BP-branded sites in the United Kingdom.

In 2020, the City of London Corp.—an organization that oversees London’s financial center—will begin testing an 18-month ban of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles on one of the area’s main streets, Financial Times reported. Outside of the U.K., cities such as Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens have announced plans to ban diesel vehicles from their centers by 2025, with the aim of reducing air pollution.

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