The Department for Transport (DfT) has dismissed reports that it is planning a ban on the sale of certain hybrids from 2040.
Last week, the Financial Times and Autocar reported the soon to be published Government's Road to Zero strategy on how to decarbonise road transport could include a 2040 sales ban on both internal combustion engine cars and hybrids and plug-in hybrids that fail to travel more than 50 miles in zero emission mode.
The DfT issued a strong-worded statement saying: "It is categorically untrue that Government is planning to ban the sale of hybrid cars in the UK by 2040.
"We do not comment on leaked draft documents. The Road to Zero Strategy is yet to be finalised and has not been agreed by ministers."
However, reports suggested the proposed hybrid ban - which would cover existing models such as the popular Toyota Prius - was being "heatedly discussed" within Government.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, told Fleet News that the automotive industry shares the Government’s goal of zero emission transport.
“Vehicle manufacturers will increasingly offer electrified versions of their vehicles giving consumers ever more choice, but industry cannot dictate the pace of change nor levels of consumer demand,” continued Hawes.
“Unrealistic targets and misleading messaging on bans will only undermine our efforts to realise this future, confusing consumers and wreaking havoc on the new car market and the thousands of jobs it supports.”
Hawes said that the industry cannot support ambition levels which do not appreciate how industry, the consumer or the market operate and which are based neither on fact nor substance.
“If Government wants the UK to be a global leader in zero emission transport it must provide a world class package of incentives and support to make this a credible policy,” said Hawes. “This includes ensuring we have the right infrastructure in place with sufficient charging points and energy supply.
“Consumers need clear information about the right vehicles for their driving needs and it is again disappointing for both industry and consumers that vitally important information about government policy is being communicated by leaks.”