On Wednesday 20 September 2023, the Government has officially announced that the ban of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, has been pushed back to 2035.

This announcement is unsurprising given the lack of government action in driving electric vehicle (EV) adoption. This change will likely create further uncertainty for the industry, however, it does align the UK automotive industry with the European Union, its largest international trading partner.

Whilst the UK continues to hold some of the most ambitious climate commitment targets, it still lacks any credible up-front price incentives to support the transition to electric for less-affluent motorists. With the removal of the Plug-In Car Grant (PICG) last June and price parity yet to be reached between electric vehicles and their internal combustion engine counterparts, the Government must create a clear and positive message for motorists that they remain committed to their climate targets.

In August 2023, NFDA surveyed its members, and the results were clear: 60% of respondents supported aligning the UK with the European Union. This indicates a lack of confidence in the government's current plan to provide the necessary support for the industry to meet the 2030 deadline.

The survey included 67 responses representing over 370 dealership sites across the UK,. The removal of the Plug-In Car Grant (PICG) last June, coupled with the ongoing price gap between electric vehicles and their internal combustion engine counterparts, underscores the need for clearer messaging from the government.

Sue Robinson commented: “Our survey indicates that UK franchised dealers, the customer-facing section of the industry, did not think that the UK’s 2030 target was achievable within the existing EV incentive framework and supports a move towards aligning the UK market with the European Union.”

Robinson also emphasized the commitment of NFDA members to supporting this transition. Dealers are investing heavily in training their staff to effectively sell, service, and repair electric vehicles. They are also working to help consumers find the right EV deals through initiatives such as NFDA’s Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA).

In the grander scheme of things, the phasing out of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in the UK requires a well-defined strategy from the government, backed by forward-thinking legislation and attractive initiatives to encourage motorists to make the shift. Achieving the UK's 2050 net-zero targets necessitates strong support for the automotive industry.