The Government has said it will ‘look again’ at plans to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, the transport secretary Grant Shapps told delegates: “As I drove up to Manchester in my family’s electric car, I found it easier than ever to plug-in and charge up. That’s because there are now more charging locations than petrol stations.
“But we must go further to protect our environment and improve our competitive edge.”
The Government had already committed to end the sale of new ‘conventional’ diesel and petrol powered vehicles by 2040.
However, Shapps said: “If we’re to become the world-leader in green technology, we must always be looking to expand our ambitions.
“I’d therefore like to see Government look again at the 2040 target, and thoroughly explore the case for bringing this date forward.
“The Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change has said 2035 is a date for which we should aim.
“We will need to test the arguments and work in partnership with industry to examine how to proceed.”
MPs on the Science and Technology Committee have also called on the Government to be more ambitious, wanting the ban brought forward to 2035 at the latest.
Ian Johnston, CEO of Engenie, said: “To enable the ban on all petrol and diesel cars by 2035, the Government must first make the UK an attractive trading environment for EV manufacturers.
“Huge private investment in charging infrastructure is already well underway, so once the government gets up to speed many of the chargers will already be deployed to ensure a smooth transition.”
Battle lines are being drawn ahead of a possible general election, with transport and the wider roll-out of electric vehicles high on the political agenda.
Last week, plans for publicly owned community car-sharing clubs, putting 30,000 electric cars on UK streets, were revealed by the Labour Party.
It made a commitment to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) at its conference and acknowledged the important role fleets play.