A consultation will be launched later this year to decide the distance a new hybrid electric vehicle can travel on zero emissions to remain on sale from 2030 to 2035.
Publishing its response today to a consultation on Ending the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans, the Government also said it remained technology neutral and recognised that hydrogen could have a role to play.
Ministers confirmed in November 2020, that new petrol and diesel cars and vans would not be allowed to be sold in the UK from 2030.
New hybrid cars and vans that could drive a “significant distance” with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe, however, would be allowed to remain on sale until 2035.
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.
In its response to the internal combsution engine (ICE) ban consultation, the Government says that it wants to increase the pace of transition to zero-emission driving.
“In doing so we recognise the importance of deploying a range of cleaner vehicle technologies from today up until the phase out dates,” it said.
“In particular, full hybrids and plug-in hybrids have a key role to play, both in reducing emissions and as a stepping-stone technology to help consumers and businesses adapt to zero emission driving.
“We are not banning the use of petrol and diesel cars and vans. These decisions only apply to new cars and vans. They do not apply to existing petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans which can continue to be driven and sold in the second-hand market.”
The Government says it recognises that a new target will be “challenging for different sectors of society and the economy”.
“Issues around affordability, range anxiety and infrastructure must be addressed to foster the willingness of drivers to transition to zero emission vehicles (ZEVs),” it added.
“Government takes a technology neutral approach on how this transition will be achieved. While it is true that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) dominate the current ZEV market, we recognise the potential of hydrogen as another solution for zero emission transport, particularly for heavier road vehicles.”
The Department for Transport (DfT) says that it will consider a “very limited range of derogations” to the phase out dates for specialist vehicles, including military service and emergency vehicles. A consultation on these derogations will be launched in due course.
It will also publish a delivery plan this year setting out major milestones towards the phase out dates and committed spending and regulatory measures. Progress against the plan will be monitored and reported publicly on an annual basis.
Furthermore, it will conduct a review of progress towards the phase out dates by 2025.
“Moving millions of vehicles to zero emissions is an enormous challenge,” said transport secretary Grant Shapps. “Government has already committed £1.5 billion to boost the early market, but now we are going further.
“We are backing our new phase out dates with over £2.8bn of investment to drive up the number of zero emission vehicles, accelerate the roll out of our world-class chargepoint infrastructure network, and to secure investment in gigafactories and other strategic technologies to develop the UK’s electric vehicle supply chain.”
In a Fleet News survey, conducted after the ICE ban was announced late last year, almost two-thirds of fleets said that implementing a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 was too soon.
The Government had previously said it would end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.