Sunday 20, May

Car industry on alert over reports some hybrids face a ban

The UK's car industry has hit out at the government over unconfirmed reports ministers will target hybrid vehicles as part of a new emissions crackdown.

By 2040, it is reasonable to assume that nearly all cars will be hybridised in some way, because of ever tightening emissions legislation. That makes a ban that only covers conventional, non-hybridised cars likely to be pretty irrelevant.

But if the government stipulates that all cars must be able to travel at least 50 miles on electric power, then a whole swathe of current machines will be outlawed. Even the performance of most so-called plug-in hybrids, which can already travel at least some distance on battery power, will not be good enough.

That means a lot more investment will be needed, both to make cars more efficient, and to beef up charging infrastructure. And car buyers will need to be encouraged to buy the right vehicles.

The proposed ban might be 22 years away - but arguments over who pays for what are likely to begin raging sooner rather than later.

A Department for Transport (DfT) spokesperson said: "It is categorically untrue that government is planning to ban the sale of hybrid cars in the UK by 2040."

The DfT added: "We do not comment on leaked draft documents. The Road to Zero Strategy is yet to be finalised and has not been agreed by ministers."

But Autocar's editorial director Jim Holder accused the government of failing to provide "any clarity of how it will support the ban" through purchase incentives and the creation of a suitable charging infrastructure.

"By imposing a ban with so little detail or evidence of support car buyers are likely to be confused once again," he told the Press Association.

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