Reacting to the news that the Government is to bring forward the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles to 2035, RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said:

“We are not surprised by the Government’s plans to bring forward the date to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles to 2035 as there is indisputable need to tackle climate change.

“A more ambitious target should be the catalyst for faster change, but there are clearly many hurdles to cross. Manufacturers face a great challenge in switching their production from conventional powertrains to cleaner electric technology. More electric vehicles (EVs) will also require a great deal of investment in charging infrastructure – particularly for those who rely on on-street parking outside their homes.

“Drivers themselves are showing greater interest in purchasing electric vehicles, with our latest findings showing a doubling to 6% of drivers that will opt for a pure electric vehicle as their next car choice. But while EV take-up is accelerating, high initial purchase prices are still holding sales back. These will inevitably come down as manufacturers bring out more and more electric vehicles. In the short to medium-term we should not, however, overlook the role plug-in hybrid vehicles with cleaner than ever petrol engines could play in bridging the gap to going completely electric.

“In the meantime we urge the Government to extend the plug-in car grant for at least another three years to help those that want to go electric, but who are put off by the high initial costs. At a local level, authorities should also incentivise their use with cheaper parking rates and lower residents’ parking permit fees.”