Government urged to scrap hybrid car ban

Published 05 February 2020

The Government has been urged to rethink its Clean Air plan, amid fears it will keep the most-polluting cars on the road for longer.

Boris Johnson's revision of the UK's Clean Air Strategy will ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars from 2035. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles will also be included in the ban, for the first time, which means new cars will be restricted to electric or hydrogen powertrains only.

A hybrid car combines a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor in order to travel under electric power at low speeds. The advantage of this is increased efficiency and reduced tailpipe emissions compared to a conventional petrol or diesel car without an electric motor.

"Including hybrids in the ban could prove to be counterproductive if it leads some drivers to hold onto petrol and diesel cars for longer," said James Fairclough CEO of AA Cars. 

“The Government’s announcement yesterday that it intends to ban the selling of new hybrid cars by 2035, alongside new petrol and diesel vehicles, will shift buying patterns in the years ahead.”


New car sales in the UK slumped to a seven-year-low in January, with the market falling by 7.3 per cent in the first month of 2020, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Hybrid cars were one of the few areas of the market to see growth in January, with sales up by 20 per cent on the same month in 2019. Hybrid cars now represent six per cent (8941) of the 149,279 new cars sold in the UK.

Registrations of new diesel cars fell by 36 per cent, the weakest performance since 2000, while petrol demand also declined by almost 10 per cent.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Consumer confidence is not returning to the market and will not be helped by Government’s decision to add further confusion and instability by moving the goalposts.

“While ambition is understandable, as we must address climate change and air quality concerns, blanket bans do not help short-term consumer confidence."


Fenwoman    on 5 February 2020

Until the government does more to ensure that electric cars can be charged everywhere (supermarket car parks using solar for example) I can't see how it can be done. Also, a blanket ban will be a problem for people like myself who need to tow livestock and horse trailers, fetch bales of hay an animal feed and the like. This simply cannot be done with an electric vehicle. Am I cynical in thinking it's just another way to make consumers depend on others and pay money for someone to deliver using a large diesel vehicle. It's usually about us paying someone and generating profit.

non-stop    on 5 February 2020

15 years is plenty of time to install chargers. Some people will need chargers in supermarket carparks, but not most.

Any manufacturer that can't be ready in 15 years deserves to fail. The message for car makers is "don't design any more cars that run on fossil fuel". It's not impossible for any of them. VW group has 3 fully electric platforms already. BMW has electric car platforms. Nissan and Renault have dedicated platforms. Citroen/Peugeot/Vauxhall have engineered their latest cars to accept either electric or ICE power. Ford are launching mass market electric vehicles in the UK this year. Volvo have an EV platform, so do Jaguar/Land Rover. GM sell fully electric cars in the States.

Granted there aren't pick up trucks on the market yet, but Tesla will have one soon and Ford USA has announced they'll launch a competitor.

This isn't a punishment for consumers, it's a wake-up call for manufacturers.

Alex Walker    on 10 February 2020

You may have a driveway or live in a quiet street there is little chance of having enough charging points every where.

squeezed    on 6 February 2020

And the cost of the cars will be so high that everyone will end up leasing the cars instead of buying, adding to the landfill.

London calling    on 6 February 2020

Meanwhile 15 supertankers emit pollution roughly equivalent to the worlds 760 million cars...

WheelchairstuntPilot    on 7 February 2020

Electric cars are todays Betamax vcr. Looking at pollution and including the electricity generating end they are a joke. Once we have sorted out hydrogen power will will look back and howl with laughter at the idea of having to charge your car at the supermarket while the national grid struggles to keep up.

Snookey    on 10 February 2020

Electric cars are todays Betamax vcr

I own and use a Beta-HiFi vcr, which is over thirty years old and still works perfectly (albeit the analogue TV tuner has no signals to pick up any longer). Nobody will be driving a car which has to be plugged into the electric mains in another thirty years from now. Personally, I think we'll be back with a new breed of cleaner petrol engines, or there may be something entirely new invented. Either way, people want the freedom and convenience to which they have become accustomed with petrol cars.

Car Crusader    on 7 February 2020

I don't believe a word of what the government says. This will no doubt all change many times before we get to 2035 as technology carries on improving. I see no reason to alter my philosophy of buying a reliable second hand car several years old that has lost half to three quarters of it's value and keeping it for several years. Honest John gives excellent independent advice on which cars are reliable and which to avoid. This has served me well so far. As cars get more efficient I can still play my part by buying an economical model while avoiding the huge expense of buying new.

Snookey    on 10 February 2020

I can still play my part by buying an economical model while avoiding the huge expense of buying new.

Despite the whole climate thing being a hoax, we still face a significant environmental problem. The solution is to manage our resources more effectively. Not just with cars, with everything. Cut wastage, increase longevity.

gordonbennet    on 8 February 2020

Oh good, just when you hoped the blond comedian had finished his act, he comes back on with a howler of an encore, bravo Boris.

Not a hope in hell the infrastructure let alone the generating capacity needed can be in place anywhere near the timescale in his latest skit, not as the average person will be able to afford and electric car...wonder who's going to do all the work when the working class can't afford to travel to work, think on that for a minute.

This is politician talk telling the noisiest kids on the bloc and their media what they want to hear, and a handy bit of guilt softening up for the proles for the coming tax grabs, all in the name of climate emergency or whatever the buzzword of the day is.

Get your wallets out ladies and gentlemen, be a lot lighter when they get returned, and with your very own Chinese spyware installed, how thoughtful.

Snookey    on 10 February 2020

Not a hope in hell the infrastructure let alone the generating capacity needed can be in place anywhere near the timescale, not as the average person will be able to afford and electric car

The effect of which will be that people will keep their existing cars for longer. Exactly what the environment actually needs. Cut wastage, increase longevity.

J Bromley    on 10 February 2020

I bought my VW hybrid Passat as i care about the enviroment but due to the lack of charging points available i have a small petrol engine as back up. As this makes these cars expensive (ie £42,000) i am penalised by higher road tax. I have to pay an extra £300/annum for the first 5 years. If i had a 10 year old diesel i would pay a lot less.

Ubermik    on 10 February 2020

From the air pollution angle the idea has "some" merit, until you look closer and see the carbon and pollution impact from the NON recyclable battery packs, the type of power stations we majoratively use because nuclear (by far the cheapest, cleanest and safest method) seems to scare people And then add the carbon footprint and cost of upgrading ENTIRE national grids to handles the extra demand And THEN factor in the lies, contradictions and half truths about global warming with many reknowned EXPERTS on both sides claiming completely opposite things The entire fiasco can clearly be seen as being about milking consumers even further whilst securing the power and control that global "green" initiatives yield Its funny how the most vocal global warming protagonists are amongst some of the most prolific polluters themselves flying everywhere by jet, owning several huge homes that are anything BUT green and fleets of gas guzzling cars Hybrid is in many ways not only the best approach, but the cheapest, greenest and most sustainable approach whilst also minimising the chances of people getting stranded And Considering its "supposed" to be about being green you would have thought that was the first thing they would think of, but nah, how does that line energy companies pockets?

Edited by Avant on 11/02/2020 at 22:05

FarnhamEV    on 10 February 2020

EVs are infinitely better than old ICE cars already and will only get better. Far more efficient engines both in use of energy and pollutants (same old rubbish here about cost of generation, battery recycling etc, price of electric cars etc) I suggest instead of looking at this site you start looking at sites like fullcharged or insideevs

Edited by Avant on 11/02/2020 at 22:06

Plodding Along    on 10 February 2020

And when we all have our green little EVs they price of a charge will be the same as filling up with diesel or unleaded - it is already happening in Norway. EVs will not be any cheaper to run tham ICE cars.
How else will Boris's boys get the lost fossil fuel revenue?

gordonbennet    on 13 February 2020

And when we all have our green little EVs they price of a charge will be the same as filling up with diesel or unleaded - it is already happening in Norway. EVs will not be any cheaper to run tham ICE cars. How else will Boris's boys get the lost fossil fuel revenue?

Sadly millions of people think the Croydon money trees actually exist, and are planning their motoring on recharging their batteries for the price of a pint of (taxed) beer.

You can forgive the younger generation for believing what they are told unquestioningly, not so much the older gen who ought to know better.

It won't be Boris' boys, at least 3 elections between now and then, whatever happens he'll be out of it into a comfy after premiership money making spree, someone else will be telling the next generation what they want to hear.

ARHReading    on 10 February 2020

Including hybrids in the 2035 ban is not a good move if there are insufficient electric vehicles to meet rising demand and charging infrastructure is not widespread. How are people in remote rural areas in Wales and Scotland supposed to cope? There is no charging point in my village in South Oxon and there are two points about 3 miles away.

Surely a more sensible policy would be to ban diesel and petrol cars in 2035 and hybrids at a later date.

Car makers have sunk serious investment money into hybrids on the basis that they were not included in the 2017 announcement. The Government needs to get its act together.

Logician    on 10 February 2020

This announcement is virtue signalling and the effect is minimal or in fact negative on the environment. Half our electricity is generated from coal, oil or gas. The manufacturing process produces a lot of carbon. Then the batteries use lithium mined in China and South America and cobalt mined in the Congo, all this mining and shipping uses carbon. The new VW electric Golf has to motor for 77,000 miles before it has less impact on the environment than a diesel Golf.

dobble    on 11 February 2020

15 years ago the Government decided we should all drive diesel cars and they changed the taxation system to encourage the use of diesel. And we all know how that ended up.

frederick heath    on 11 February 2020

I can foresee huge problems with this headlong rush into going all electric whether it be homes or transport. Existing power stations, solar and wind can't provide the power required nor can the existing infrastructure cope despite all the wishful thinking. Please recall the winter in Canada when the grid failed and many people in all electric homes died because they had no back-up source of heat. Also, recall the hundreds of cars stuck in snow the other winter on the A66. None died because they could run their engines to keep warm; and petrol/diesel will last a lot longer than a battery in that situation. Yet we now have a decision to ban even hybrid cars from sale. Given more refinement, these vehicles would provide a serviceable compromise in all circumstances. If we have to go all electric then there will be the need to deliver many more power stations, an up-rated grid and almost unlimited charging points for transport. What of long distance heavy goods vehicles, are these to be electric also? Long distance coach travel, do the passengers have to wait while the coach charges? Aircraft, ships: I can see that there will be a place for the ICE for the foreseeable future.

agedn    on 11 February 2020

In my view the only way forward at the present is for people to buy self charging hybrids (not plug in hybrids). Then you have the advantage that you have an economical car emitting considerably less CO2 than a conventional car and charging its own electricity. There is no chance of running out of electricity if you can't find a charging point or if you are stuck on a motorway for hours on end as a result of an accident. That is the route I plan to take when my existing car has done its time - until they have sorted out hydrogen power which I believe could be the way forward. The Government will not have to rush into building numerous new power stations to charge up cars as self charging hybrids do it for you, and hydrogen will not need it, and there will be no range anxiety.
But who knows what is going to happen in the next 15 years?

Rob Pollock    on 11 February 2020

What about lpg?

Paul Jenkinz    on 12 February 2020

whats the point of going green with the US and CHINA and other countries pumping out all their pollutants if britain went 100 percent green tomorrow it will not save the planet clueless boris and this clueless government need kicking out

Add a comment


Value my car