(Pocket-lint) - The UK's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has confirmed a new date for the country's ban on new fossil fuel vehicles, bringing it forward to within a decade.

Originally set for 2040, but then moved forward by five years in plans revealed in February 2020, it has now been expedited further, to 2030.

Writing in the Financial Times, the Prime Minister outlined a £2.8 billion plan to drive growth in electric vehicles. The funding will go towards "lacing the land with charging points" and "creating long-lasting batteries in UK gigafactories".

"This will allow us to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030," he wrote.

Hybrid cars and vans will have an extended deadline, to 2035, as long as they can travel "significant" distances without emitting carbon. But will also be prohibited from sale in the UK thereafter.

The measures are part of the PM's new 10-point plan to "turn the UK into the world's number one centre for green technology and finance".

The movement of the date is likely to be greeted warmly by environmental groups, but with dismay from a car industry that's already strugling, not only hit by the disruption of the virus, but now facing a narrowing window for existing products.

"While we applaud the ambition, such a challenging timescale would be insufficient for the industry to transition, threatening the viability of thousands of businesses and undermining sales of today's low emission technologies," said SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, earlier this year.

Electric car sales have been increasing through 2020, the range and variety of products has also been increasing as the industry moves beyond expensive halo electric car models and begins to offer EVs in different sizes and at different price points.

But new technology is expensive and while prices are dropping, there's still a big gap between the most affordable petrol cars and the most affordable electric cars. Sometimes that's as much as £10,000 more for the electric model.

At the same time, the situation around charging is improving. The infrastructure is maturing, with additional rapid charging sites appearing and an increasing number of homes being built with a charging socket included.

Recently-published research from the SMMT suggested that the public thought a switch to electric by 2035 was too soon, let alone 2030. We await further responses from the car industry.

Writing by Rik Henderson and Chris Hall.
  • Source: UK plans to bring forward ban on fossil fuel vehicles to 2030 - theguardian.com
  • Source: Billions invested in electric vehicle range but nearly half of UK buyers still think 2035 too soon to switch - smmt.co.uk
  • Source: Boris Johnson: Now is the time to plan our green recovery - ft.com
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