The government has confirmed that it will end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040, as it unveiled new plans to tackle air pollution.
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove said the move is part of a plan to replace the traditional combustion engine in cars and vans with cleaner electric or hybrid alternatives.
The news, which was announced last week in a policy paper to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations, will see a fundamental change for the motor industry and has given rise to a host questions and concerns.
‘Time to adjust’
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Much depends on the cost of these new technologies and how willing consumers are to adopt battery, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen cars.
“Currently demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles is growing but still at a very low level as consumer have concern over affordability, range and charging points.
“We could undermine the UK’s successful automotive sector if we don’t allow enough time for the industry to adjust.”
A number of vehicle technicians took to Facebook to voice their concerns, with many questioning the future for independent garages.
Future for independents
Richard Walford asked: “What happens to my job when everything is running on electric motors, do I have to retrain as an electrician – will we get an electrician’s wage?
“What happens to all the smaller garages that can’t keep up with all the new tools and diagnostic software?
“I could ramble on forever about how important the internal combustion engine is but I’m not going to.
“Take a step back and just think about what is rapidly and quite scarily becoming a harsh reality.”
Dave Ovendenon said: “Remember when solar panels were only powerful enough to write ‘8008135’ as many times as you wanted on a calculator?
“They charge battery banks in motor homes quickly and efficiently now.
“In 20 years they’ll be built into the roof of every electric car and be even better.
“If you keep up with the game imagine how much easier and cleaner the job is going to be.
“I’m just gutted the majority of us won’t actually see this happen.”
Brian Jollands said: “Hybrid vehicles use a small petrol generator to top the battery up, they still have wheels and brakes and a steering system, so our jobs won’t become redundant and internal combustion engines would still be produced.”
By 2040, car makers will have produced three generations of their vehicles and with technological innovation within the industry occurring at an unprecedented pace, is it really that much of a surprise announcement? Join the debate and share your comments below.