British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the U.K. will ban new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars starting in 2035 to reduce air pollution and help curb carbon emissions.
This would mean that only electric vehicles (EVs) and other types of environmentally friendly cars, such as fuel cell vehicles, would be available for sale in the country, which could have a dramatic impact on the overall automotive market in the coming years.
The announcement from Johnson was made at the launch event for COP26 at London’s Science Museum.
“We have to deal with our CO2 emissions,” Johnson said, according to Reuters. “As a country and as a society, as a planet, as a species, we must now act.”
The automotive industry is already heading in this direction on multiple fronts. First, regulation from U.N. treaties and governments to curb emissions is ongoing. Consequently, automotive OEMs are heavily investing in EVs to do their part in the fight against climate change as well as in response to growing consumer interest in EVs. Part of this consumer interest is due to the popularity surrounding Tesla Motors, which dominated EV sales in 2019 compared to every other car maker.
Likewise, Honda has announced plans to move to 100% electrification in car sales in the European market by 2025, replacing all combustion engine vehicles sold on the market. Honda said this would be the start of the company's shift toward global electrification by 2023.
Two years ago, GM announced it was closing five production and part plants in order to double its resources to develop electric and self-driving vehicles. GM expects 75% of its global sales to come from battery-EV architectures. GM also recently said it would invest $2.2 billion at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to produce a variety of all-electric trucks and SUVs. But GM is not the only automotive OEM going in this direction. Ford has also announced a similar plan that would include an $11 billion investment for restructuring its business with an electrification strategy. Both Ford and GM attributed the move toward EVs to changing market conditions and consumer attitudes toward EVs in addition to the benefits to the environment.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen officially started production on its first EV with plans to sell 22 million EVs worldwide as part of a transition to all-electric fleets in the coming years. Volkswagen recently upped its investments from $9.1 billion to $21.5 billion through 2023 to spend on both EVs and autonomous vehicles.
Volvo Cars is also transitioning to a higher volume of EVs with a target date of 2025 to have 50% of its sales come from fully electric cars and the company is releasing all new models with a mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid or battery EV variant moving forward.
Last year, BMW revised its electrification roadmap for having 25 EVs on the road by 2023, having reached that goal two years earlier than the company first anticipated. The company explained that the accelerated roadmap is due to the changing conditions in the automotive market toward sustainable mobility.
The shift in the automotive market has also encouraged outsiders to try their hand at the automotive market with numerous startups emerging with plans to develop EVs. These include Fisker, Byton, Lucid Motors, Rivan, Sono Motors and many others.