Boris Johnson revealed the updated plan at the launch event for a United Nations climate summit, COP26, which is due to be held in Glasgow in November.
This proposed change was announced following advice from experts that 2040 will be too late to make sure conventionally powered cars are off the roads by 2050, the date by which the government aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions.
The ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars after 2040 was first announced in July 2017, but crucially it has been extended to include hybrid cars too. This means the only vehicles available to buy new after the ban will be electric or hydrogen powered.
Opinions were divided following the Prime Minister’s announcement. Friends of the Earth’s Head of Policy Mike Childs said: “The government is right to accelerate the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars to curb air pollution and address the climate emergency, but the ban should start in 2030 – not 2035.”
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said the government was “moving the goalposts”, adding: “it’s clear that accelerating an already very challenging ambition will take more than industry investment.”
Recent moves the government has made towards promoting electric vehicle ownership include doubling funding for EV chargepoints and endorsing the Electric Vehicle Approved scheme. It also introduced the first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London in April 2019.
Although the Scottish government doesn’t have the power to ban diesel or petrol cars, it aims to “phase out the need” for them by 2032 by making EV ownership easier and expanding the charging network.
If this talk of petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric vehicles has got you wondering where the most EV-friendly towns and cities are across the UK, take a look at our interactive map, Electric Cities.