The UK government will announce that it will ban diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040.
BBC has reported that the government will encourage a move towards electric cars in a bid to combat air pollution.
The first practical production of an electric car was actually built in the UK in 1884 by Thomas Parker. He had used his own specially designed high-capacity rechargeable batteries.
During the late 19th century and the early 20th century, electric cars were popular among the public. But they were slowly replaced when much-cheaper gasoline vehicles were introduced to the markets. It was only after 2008 when the market for electric vehicles started growing. This was due to two main reasons – there were concerns over growing oil prices and about the environment.
According to a World Health Organization report, 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air pollution exceeds safe limits. Many nations have established tax cuts and subsidies to promote electric vehicles. In the European Union, as of 2011, 15 member-states provided economic subsidies in varying degrees.
Most electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries.
In 2017, Volvo became the first car manufacturer to announce that from 2019, every new car in its range will have an electric power train. At the time Håkan Samuelsson, the company’s chief executive said, “This is about the customer. People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs.”
Earlier this month France also announced that it will be banning petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
The UK government will be unveiling its clean air plan alongside this ban to tackle air pollution. £255m funds will be provided to help councils to tackle emissions from diesel vehicles.
UK has been besieged by high levels of air pollution. It is reportedly responsible for 40,000 premature deaths annually. The government’s clean air plan has been highly anticipated for months but has seen multiple delays. The High Court ordered the government to furnish reasons for this delay in April 2017.
Our assessment is that UK and France have assumed leadership in ushering the growth of electric vehicles. It is also happening at a time when diesel car manufacturers like Mercedes and Audi have recalled millions of their diesel cars for upgrades (to decrease diesel emissions). Technology innovators like Tesla have also taken the lead in manufacturing electric cars. The industry is growing slowly yet surely. UK can benefit from both economically and environmentally in this process.