Plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles in the UK have been discussed since 2017 after a similar plan was announced in France. Not much has changed since then as the goal to reduce the sale of fossil fuel cars is still in effect. The date of the ban was originally 2030 but this has now been pushed back to 2035, and it has been adjusted to accommodate larger vehicles such as HGV and vans.
With the changes approaching fast, it's worth exploring what to expect and what you can do to prepare as a fleet owner or manager.
What to expect from the ban on petrol and diesel cars
The ban on new petrol and diesel cars is part of a larger plan to create a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 and a global effort to reduce emissions that damage the environment. Emissions release nitrogen oxides and particulate matter that have been shown to increase the risk of respiratory illnesses, among other conditions. The health of people living in cities or near congested roads is therefore set to improve with the banning of fossil-fuelled vehicles.
When will the sale of new petrol and diesel cars be banned?
It's important to note that existing petrol and diesel cars will not be banned as this legislation only impacts the sales of new petrol and diesel cars. The distinction is important because it means that if your fleet contains vans and cars with internal combustion engines, then you can continue to use them after 2035 until you decide not to.
The UK Government has confirmed that new conventional and plug-in hybrids will be allowed to remain on sale until 2035, providing they can achieve a significant zero-emission distance. If you want to add new cars or vans to your fleet after 2035, the only ones available to buy will be pure electric ones or, if they exist by that point, hydrogen-powered vehicles.
When will the sale of new petrol and diesel vans and HGVs be banned?
Similar to the sale of new plug-in hybrids, smaller diesel trucks and vans sales would be banned from 2035, with the sale of new larger vehicles (that is, vehicles weighing over 26 tons) banned from 2040. There's a concern in the current market that the future of renewable energy HGVs is unclear and that the existing vehicles are insufficient for fleet owners to make the shift. But as the past few years have shown, the technology used in battery-operated vehicles is advancing rapidly, and with almost 20 years until new heavy goods vehicles can no longer use ICE, it's expected that the market will have to catch up.
How to prepare your fleet for 2035
As 2035 approaches, it's smart to be thinking ahead and look at how your fleet can adapt to the upcoming changes. While the entirety of your fleet doesn't need to change, and your petrol and diesel vehicles won't be rendered obsolete on January 1st 2035, you shouldn't let the changes catch you by surprise.
We've laid out some initial steps to help you make the switch to electric.
Assess your fleet and the EV rollout
One of the more straightforward steps, but still a crucial one, is taking stock of what's in your fleet. By knowing the age of your vehicles and how they're powered (battery, ICE, hybrid etc.) you will have an idea of what could need replacing come 2035. Knowing the financial situation of your fleet is also very important because your budget will ultimately determine what you can do in the future.
Keeping an eye on industry insights will allow you to make the right decisions when purchasing vehicles for your fleet as the ban on petrol and diesel cars moves closer.
Keep drivers and management informed
The changes being introduced are a serious long-term investment and require the support of everyone involved. Managers need to understand the implications of these laws and how they will affect the business, whether that's introducing new tools or changing the business's infrastructure.
Drivers need to be aware that their work patterns may need adjustment to account for charging times and routes will need to be planned ahead to factor in accessible charging points. By laying out the upcoming changes and explaining the roles required of your staff, you will be less likely to be caught unawares when the time comes.
Understand the rules, regulations, and incentives for an EV fleet
Knowing the law and how it affects your fleet is essential for keeping it operational. As new regulations are introduced, your business relies on you remaining up to date with all the necessary rules.
The UK government has announced incentives to encourage companies to begin the transition to electric vehicles. Exploring these incentives and how they can benefit your business can save you time and money.
Design a strategy for today, and tomorrow
As you get closer to making the final switch, knowing what you're going to do long-term can be invaluable. Working with the broader team, you can address the variety of challenges that stand between you and an all-electric fleet. Elements such as procurement and maintenance need to be considered, as do any additional power needs.
The plans that are drawn up need to factor in what you aim to achieve once you have an EV fleet, and part of that decision is considering fuelling options. At Right Fuel Card, we want to help businesses make the switch to a greener fuel future and so we're working on an EV alternative to our fuel cards. To keep informed about this new product, register your interest today.
If you’re not ready to take the plunge into electric, then our range of fuel cards can help you manage your current fuel expenditure and reduce admin. In order to discuss your fuel card options, please get in touch with our team.
Matt DoddsWith over 14 years of experience across two of the leading fuel card companies in the UK, Matt Dodds joined RFC Edenred to help lead the development of products to support our customer's move to EV and other alternative fuels, a transition he feels passionately about.