Petrol power has found a loophole to drive through Britain’s plans to ban internal combustion engines by 2040.
The UK government announced in August 2017 that it would ban all petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from sale by 2040 in a bid to cut emissions for better air quality. It was expected that only electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles would be available for sale after that date.
However, this week the government’s transport secretary, Chris Grayling, announced that the ban would not apply to hybrid cars which use a petrol or diesel engine in partnership with an electric motor. That is as long as the car or SUV is classified as an ultra-low emissions vehicle (ULEV), which means they must emit less than 75g/km CO2.
The announcement was part of the UK government’s Road to Zero strategy that also includes the goal of having at least 50 per cent, and potentially as much as 70 per cent, of new car sales be ultra-low emissions by the end of the next decade, 2030.
While the goal is zero emissions the government isn’t pushing for any specific technology.
“The Road to Zero Strategy is technology neutral and does not speculate on which technologies might help to deliver the government’s 2040 mission,” the report stated. “The government has no plan to ban any particular technology - like hybrids - as part of this strategy.”
However, the government will invest in making electric cars more accessable by encouraging new homes to include chargeports and even try to integrate charging outlets into a new lamp post design.
While the Australian government has given no indications it is considering a similar strategy here the decision by one of the world’s biggest right-hand drive markets to cater to zero and ultra-low emissions vehicles could potentially mean more access to those models locally in the future.