Fleet News

Zero-emission capability crucial to which hybrids remain on sale

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has attempted to clarify the types of hybrid cars and vans that will be allowed to remain on sale until 2035.

The Government announced yesterday (Wednesday, November 18) that new petrol and diesel cars and vans will not be allowed to be sold in the UK from 2030

However, it said that it would continue to allow the sale of hybrid cars and vans that can drive a “significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe” until 2035.

BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said that the 2035 extension for hybrids would provide an “essential lifeline” for those facing a greater zero-emission challenge.

However, he said that vehicle rental companies and van fleet operators would need “clarity on exactly what types of hybrid are in scope”.

Speaking at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle conference, following the Government announcement on the petrol and diesel ban,  Natasha Robinson, head of OLEV, said: “From 2035 all new cars and vans will need to be fully zero emission at the tailpipe and between 2030 and 2035 all new cars and vans must have significant zero emission capability.

“That means for example plug-in hybrids and what are called full hybrids would count, but what are known as mild hybrids, which just help with acceleration and deceleration, wouldn’t necessarily count as having significant zero emission capability."

What constitutes significant zero emission miles hasn’t been decided yet, she said.

“What we are looking at is the really cleanest vehicles that are out there where the battery should be able to operate independently, so we would expect them to be able to operate as a zero emission vehicles for a certain amount of time – we will be talking to industry and talking to others more widely around defining that more tightly over the coming months – but at the moment just to be clear what we are looking at is those plug-in and full hybrids.”

Full hybrids include the likes of the Toyota Prius and the Kia Niro, while mild hybrids, which are rapidly becoming the norm on most engines, are offered by Ford, with MHEV engines on the Fiesta, Puma and Focus.

The BMW 320d and 520d are now mild hybrid too, while Volvo has all but one of its petrol or diesel engines as mild hybrid now (badged B instead of D or T).

Click here for electric cars and hybrids best practice and procurement insight

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