One in two news cars must be electric by 2028

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said that new rules “must encourage consumers to purchase, not just compel manufacturers to produce”.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The danger is that consumers will lack the incentive to purchase these new vehicles – vehicles that will remain more expensive than traditional petrol and diesel cars for a number of years to come – in the quantities needed, keeping their older, more polluting vehicles for even longer thereby undermining the carbon savings this regulation seeks to deliver.

“Market transformation is proven to work fastest when mandates are matched with incentives and, for automotive electrification, we also need commensurate and binding targets for infrastructure provision. We will now work closely with government during its consultation process to ensure that the final regulation helps the market transition to zero emission motoring.”  

The DfT said that several major manufacturers, such as Ford, Mercedes, Audi, Peugeot and Volvo, have already committed to only sell electric cars in the UK by 2030.

Volkswagen and Land Rover expect battery-powered vehicles to account for half of their sales, while for Toyota, Honda and Porsche fully electric sales would make for a fraction of the total.

Toyota has been betting on hybrid models to reduce its environmental impact and previously warned it would stop investment in its British factories if rules ended up hindering sales.

The Government announced two years ago that new petrol and diesel vehicles would be banned from 2030, while some hybrid models could be sold until 2035.

Last month, the Office for Budget Responsibility said electric models would account for 59pc of new car sales by 2027, doubling the forecast released in October.

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