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"Everyone wins in the switch to EVs. We must hold our nerve on the 2030 ICE ban"

DrivingElectric’s Tom Jervis thinks the government’s rollback on the 2030 petrol and diesel ban is a blunder that could kill EV consumer confidence

Comment - 2030 ICE ban

Another week, another questionable decision by a government that’s so intent on saving its own skin it makes Dominic Cummings look like the forgotten member of the Titanic’s orchestra.

As you’ve probably already heard, Rishi Sunak has announced that the government is backtracking on its 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, meaning the rapidly-developing electric-car industry is destined to become yet another casualty of this floundering Conservative government.

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We’re almost six years away from the old 2030 deadline, and while most can agree on the environmental benefits of electric cars, there remains much debate and concern on the feasibility of the transition to electric power. 

This apprehension isn’t just held by keyboard warriors living in their parent’s basements, either; a recent study by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found that two-thirds of Brits are considering an EV, but are worried about the UK’s electric-car infrastructure and the inherent cost of buying a zero-emissions vehicle in the first place.

With this in mind, you’re not going to convince the public – nor large corporations and investors – that electric cars are the future (and present) with the same “dither and delay” tactics that the government accused its political rivals of during Brexit.

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The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman’s comment that electric cars are “bankrupting the British people” is exactly the kind of denigrative rhetoric that doesn’t help matters. Aside from the fact that large parts of the current cost-of-living crisis are of the Conservative Party’s own making, the depiction of EVs as out-of-reach toys to calm the consciences of the most wealthy in our society feels willfully disingenuous and smacks of a ploy to help the Tories’ perilous position in the polls. It’s certainly not going to get the public on board for what is a necessary step in preserving our planet, with the potential to make the quality of life better for millions of UK citizens.

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Sunak himself even admits that EVs are coming down in price, and that’s certainly the case; while most new electric cars still cost in excess of £30,000, many more affordable models are gradually being introduced, with some even costing almost the same as a conventional petrol alternative. All this without any government incentives aside from a favourable tax regime, and that’s not even mentioning the used electric-car market, where heavy depreciation means there’s plenty of fantastic deals to be had.

Electric cars

Regardless, while being an early adopter of electric cars may be expensive, those doing so now are cultivating an affordable and sustainable market for the masses that will, in time, benefit the consumer and allow Britain’s industries to thrive.

Recent investment from the likes of BMW in its expansion of the Oxford MINI plant and Jaguar-Land Rover with its new £4 billion battery factory in Somerset are two very recent examples of how the momentum generated by the push towards 2030 not only benefits the economy, but generates jobs, too.

Therefore, it’s not just the fat cats that win, but also the everyday people that the Conservative Party insist are supposedly being “burdened” by the switch to electric power. Sunak worries about losing the “consent” of the British people – isn’t delaying a bright and zero-emissions future a sure-fire way to do exactly that?

I’m clearly not the only person who thinks this; if Ford, purveyors of V8 Mustangs and bungalow-sized pickups, is criticising the government and pushing for what it calls “ambition, commitment and consistency” when it comes to the UK’s electric-car policy, then it’s clear something is seriously wrong.

The world may not be ‘Ready For Rishi’, but it certainly IS ready for electric cars and the quicker we electrify our roads, the sooner we can all reap the huge benefits of doing so.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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