The government has announced that it won’t permit the registration of petrol and diesel light vehicles from 2040, effectively ending the age of the internal combustion engine.
Existing vehicles will continue to be re-licenced for an unspecified period, but there is no doubt that the writing is finally on the wall for both cars and the way of business as we know it.
Pressure group Fair Fuel UK were one of the first to react. “So by 2040 no fuel stations, no garage repairs, no car parts suppliers and 15m diesels scrapped. The cost will be trillions” said Quentin Wilson, who is acting as lead spokesman for the group. Group Founder Howard Cox echoed the sentiment by saying: ““We have practical proven ways to reduce emissions available now. Why has Michael Gove ignored these in favour of a draconian policy that will hit small businesses and low-income families the hardest. The energy supply infrastructure and the National Grid will disintegrate in a breakneck move to nascent electric technology which will guarantee to cripple the economy.”
Engineering consultancy firm Ricardo chose the day of the announcement to launch its Global Automotive Group, which it says has a focus only on electric and autonomous powertrains. Mike Garrett, COO at the firm will head up the new division. He said: “We are ready both to help our customers with the most exacting challenges they face today, as well as helping them prepare for the cleaner, more electrified, technology-rich future”.
Perhaps understandably, a lot of talk was generated about scrappage schemes, even though Environment Secretary Michael Gove all but ruled out the idea for any such scheme on Radio Four’s Today programme.
“Whilst we are waiting for the details of the diesel scrappage scheme, we understand that it will have a 10 year limit”, explained Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI. “This means it will basically cover mainly Euro three emission standard and older. However, Euro four for diesel was introduced in January 2006 and remained in force up to January 2011. There will be a huge number of Euro four and five cars on the road as those standards ran though the peak registration years, especially Euro five which covered the period from January 2011 to September 2015. None of these cars have the Adblue (Urea) treatment introduced with Euro six which significantly reduces the NOx emissions which are now the main cause of concern regarding air quality”.
Nash also noted that a study conducted by his organisation found that insurance for alternative fuel vehicles can be 50 percent higher than for petrol or diesel equivalents and warns these won’t become more competitive until more people are qualified to work on them.
Currently only one percent of all technicians have been trained to work safely on the high-voltage technology, of which almost all of them work exclusively for manufacturers franchised dealers.
“The IMI is continuing its campaign for the introduction of a licensing scheme for those working on the high voltage vehicles, and we’ve asked the government to contribute £30m to support the uptake of the necessary training”, added Steve Nash. “In order to facilitate this and help clarify the competencies required for working on these vehicles, the IMI has launched a new Electric & Hybrid Vehicle qualification along with the appropriate support materials” he said.