George Freeman MP, Department for Transport Minister of State, says the government intends to start discussions about bringing forward its ambitious target of banning the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040.
Speaking at the launch of a report from the government-backed Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce, the Minister said the plans were part of plans to announce more “tangible measures to drive decarbonisation.
“We intent to consult on bringing forward the 2040 target to end the sale of diesel and petrol cars.”
Mr Freeman’s statement follows a suggestion by transport minister Grant Shapps at the Conservative party conference in October 2019 that the ban could be brought forward five years, to 2035.
“There is also a commitment for all central government cars to be electric by 2030.”
Mr Freeman added he would also like to see the number of UK rapid chargers more than double by 2024, to over 5,000.
He indicated announcements could be made in the build-up to November’s 2020 UN Climate Change Conference which is being held in Glasgow.
‘Get with the programme’
Public opinion on climate change has shifted, said the minister, over the past six or seven months, something he experienced “knocking on 10,000 doors” during campaigning for the general election.
The government needs to step up efforts to deliver on its 2050 net zero emissions target “because 2050 is only 30 years away”.
Mr Freeman said he was “cheered” with the news Volkswagen is raising its electric car production forecast for 2025 – the same year that Audi will be offering 20 new fully-electric vehicles.
Industry has set itself demanding targets too, he acknowledged.
“We have momentum, we have know-how, we have industry commitment; we haven’t shied away from setting ourselves some really ambitious goals.
“Many people haven’t made the shift from electric motoring being a nice idea, a vision, to being an actual practical reality that we are going to do.
“All of us are going to have to get with the progamme.”