Industry reacts to Sunak’s step back on ICE deadline

The industry has been reacting to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak‘s decision to step back from 2030 to 2035 for the closure of sales of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. The decision comes as part of a raft of announcements on the country’s net-zero plans.

A spokesperson from RHA reacted with: “We seek urgent clarity from government on what today’s announcement means for the future of HGVs and coaches. Businesses looking to play their part on the road to net zero need certainty, not delays.

“Government needs to collaborate with industry to come up with a detailed plan that provides certainty for investment, drives innovation, and directs support for those who want to do the right thing.

“This is the only way to bring down costs and encourage companies to make the switch to net zero in the long term. Simply changing deadlines without a clear plan in place will do neither.

“We will continue to seek the clarity and certainty our industry urgently needs to bring costs down.”

In light of the announcement, Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) is encouraging people to use the bus and coach as an alternative transport mode.

CPT CEO, Graham Vidler

The CPT‘s CEO, Graham Vidler, said: “Today’s announcement from the Prime Minister, reflects a government that is grappling with delivering net-zero during a cost of living crisis.

“Buses and coaches offer an affordable and sustainable solution. A helpful step which we can all take, is to swap car journeys to bus and coach. World Car Free Day this Friday is a great time to start.”

Ian Foley, Equipmake

Equipmake CEO, Ian Foley, said: “The scaling back of the commitment to the 2030 ICE deadline is the opposite of what the UK automotive and commercial vehicle industries need right now.

Vehicle manufacturers and technology suppliers have all been working towards – and investing in – the same targets of 2030 and 2035, which up until now, have given the clear guidance needed to make the journey to net zero.

“It is deeply disappointing given that since the deadline was initially set, UK Government has played a key role in fostering the growth of electrification technology through forward-thinking organisations such as Innovate UK and the APC. Indeed, because of funding received to support the development of zero emission vehicle technology, Equipmake has significantly expanded operations over the last three years.

“But the government’s latest decision also comes off the back an ongoing lack of strategy around another sector: electric buses, a market where we are a leader through our technology which converts existing diesel vehicles to fully electric. With no incentives to reduce the purchase price of a re-powered bus, there is a huge, missed opportunity to reduce pollution and provide the UK bus industry with a much-needed shot in the arm.

“The UK can and should be a leader in zero emission mobility, but rowing back on key commitments means our net zero plan is now pushed a further five years down the road, giving rise to procrastination. It sends completely the wrong message.”

CEO of fleet electrification business VEV, Mike Nakrani, said: “The decision to row back from the now three-years-old commitment to the

Mike Nakrani, CEO of VEV

2030 timeline is the opposite of what the auto industry needs to play its part in the race to net zero. It is confusing an already confused situation, where the facts have been lost to politics and spin.

“At VEV we believe the existing 2030 and 2035 targets were sensible and provided a phased approach to reaching net zero. Hybrid vehicles would still be sold post-2030 in any event, which makes this latest policy u-turn even more illogical and only adds further confusion.

“Manufacturers, fleet operators and all those in supporting roles across infrastructure and related services have gathered at the starting line to make this journey to net zero. What we need is certainty and support from Government to accelerate the race, not political prevarication.

“To push the UK net zero journey plan a further five years down the track will only giving rise to inaction and procrastination. This is not conducive to building a better Britain or environment.”

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