Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 12th July 2018

Since the UK government announced the transition to electric cars by 2040, there has been a lot of debate on the subject. The UK Energy Research Centre has weighed in by saying the plans aren’t ambitious enough and the initiative should kick in at least five years earlier. Professor Jim Watson has pointed out the motor industry has a history of saying targets are impossible, but new models are suddenly introduced to get the job done.

Watson said “it’s great” the government “are having a target, but it could be much more ambitious. If you push industry further they could go faster. Sometimes the car industry has done itself a great disservice by lobbying against environmental standards and then finding itself in trouble when the oil price goes up and people want cleaner, more efficient cars.”

Opinion is split down the middle as to whether the 2040 goal is doable. Jaguar Land Rover has said it expects to meet the target, with a spokesman saying “from 2020 every new Jaguar and Land Rover will have the option of electrification. The target is 22 years away – or seven new cars away for many new car buyers on a typical ownership cycle. We are confident that every new Jaguar or Land Rover will meet the proposed criteria long before 2040.”

Nissan is also positive about the target. “As the pioneer of electric vehicles, we welcome plans that encourage people to switch to low or zero emission vehicles.”

Other firms have criticised the 2040 electric conversion, especially the consideration to force hybrid cars off the road as well. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders have also criticised the proposals. Representative Mike Hawes said “vehicle manufacturers will increasingly offer electrified versions of their vehicles giving consumers even more choice. But industry cannot dictate the pace of change nor levels of consumer demand.”

Despite the mixture of opinions, UK car manufacturers are united by one issue. Everyone agrees that the government needs to improve the supply of changing infrastructure and to increase incentives to buy low-emissions cars.

Manufacturers believe the government needs to quicken the demand for clean cars, or it would be impossible to increase production levels to the necessary amount by 2040.

The debate for the 2040 targets is ongoing and we’ll continue to cover the latest news and changes around it.