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UK set to ban petrol and diesel new cars from 2040

Electric charge: Mini will be ready for the UK ban on petrol and diesel new cars in 2040, having this week announced plans to build an all-electric three-door hatchback from 2019.

Britain joins France and Norway in move to outlaw new fossil-fuel vehicles

26 Jul 2017

THE United Kingdom will ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to clean up the air over cities in the island nation where 40,000 people are said to die prematurely every year from air pollution.

The move brings the UK into line with France which announced similar plans earlier this month.

Norway has also announced a clamp-down on internal combustion engines by 2025, while major cities across Europe are threatening their own bans on diesel cars in particular.

The British move – made almost on the eve of a July 31 High Court deadline to set out the government’s draft clean-air policy after legal action by environmentists – does not include a diesel scrappage plan, nor does it allow local councils such as the City of London to charge polluting vehicles to enter areas with high pollution, such as city centres.

Instead, the UK government says it will ban sales of new cars fitted with fossil-fuel-burning engines by 2040.

This will encourage manufacturers to step up development of full electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, not only for personal use but also road transport.

The move is mainly being made to cut levels of air pollutants such as oxides of nitrogen and carbon particulates, but it also is designed to help cut greenhouse gas emissions as well.

Most manufacturers are already well down the path to an electric future, with Volvo recently announcing that it would only make plug-in hybrid or full-electric vehicles from 2019 while dropping diesel engines altogether.

No one would be surprised if Sweden, Germany and Denmark quickly fell into line with the British/French/Norway moves.

All the major German car-makers have announced plans to greatly expand their EV production by 2020, with Volkswagen predicting that sales of the production version of its ID hatchback concept – shown at last year’s Paris motor show – will rival those of its two biggest sellers, the Beetle and Golf, once it hits the mark in 2020.

Coincidentally or not, BMW this week announced that it would make a full-electric versions of its three-door Mini at its Oxford plant in the UK from 2019 as part of a rapid expansion of its electric range.

So far, Australia has not announced any move to curtail petrol and diesel cars sales, not even offering incentives for environmentally sound vehicles such as those in other major markets, including Europe, the United States, Japan and China.

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