(Pocket-lint) - The UK government could be looking to accelerate the ban on new fossil fuel vehicles, pulling the date forward to 2030, sources have revealed.

Reported in The Guardian, the new timeline could see a reduction of 5 years over the plans announced in February 2020 that put the cut-off date at 2035; that date itself was pulled forward from 2040.

According to the report, the new plans which were due to be revealed this week, might be announced later in 2020 as the government focuses on tackling the global pandemic.

The movement of the date is likely to be greeted warmly by environmental groups, but with dismay from a car industry that's already struggling, not only hit by the disruption of the virus, but now potentially 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 Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

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.

We'll await this announcement to get clarification of what the road ahead will look like for the UK, but recently-published research from the SMMT suggests that the public thought a switch to electric by 2035 was too soon - so we can only guess how the 2030 date will be received.  

Writing by 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
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