London’s Thermal Car Ban: Turning the Tide


More royalist than the king, and more European than the Europe he left, the United Kingdom had implemented a ban on non-hybrid engines from 2030, and all thermal ones in 2035. But Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is backtracking, while trying to boost sales of electric cars. Not easy.

Organizing parties at 10 Downing Street during confinement, which cost him his job, did not prevent Boris Johnson from nurturing an ecological fiber. Also, the former British Prime Minister insisted that his country be ahead of all the other nations of the continent except Norway. In 2020, he thus decreed that any new car sold in the Kingdom from 2030 must be hybrid or electric, before becoming fully electric in 2035, as in the EU.

Lowest sales

Since then, the outcry has been general, especially since car sales reached their lowest level for 30 years last year, with just over 1.6 million units, while the country was, throughout the 2000s, one of the best European customers in the automotive industry, with peaks at 2.4 million copies.

Rishi Sunak, has the current prime minister heard the industrial anger? Still, he did not confirm that the ban would be effective, weaving in front of Parliament, always saying he was going towards “progress towards zero emissions”, while moderating his remarks, and explaining that he was defending the British people “because I am aware that we are living in a period of high inflation. “. Stronger inflation than in the Union. As a result, Sunak refuses that any new legislative law (such as the thermal ban) has “an unfair impact on the public”.

But why, in this case, is the tenant of 10 Downing Street so evasive about the future of this law? Why does he always mention progress “towards our ambitions in terms of net emissions”, when according to specialists, relayed by the English press, the fate of the ban is already sealed and that, after 2030, the English will be able to continue to drive in thermal?

Because as a good politician, he knows how to spare the goat and the cabbage. The British car industry is moribund. 78% of cars sold in the Kingdom are imported. Local brands are no more than confidential companies (Lotus, Aston Martin) and the flagship of the country, the official supplier of Her Majesty, Jaguar Land Rover, is now owned by the former Indian colonized Tata.

Tata invests 4.6 billion euros in a gigafactory

A giant which, precisely, has just made a promise to the British government: that of investing 4 billion pounds sterling (about 4.6 billion euros) in Sommerset. A sum, and the jobs it implies, which cannot leave Sunak indifferent. He also sees the distribution figures for electric cars growing rapidly in a country where sales to companies are a national specialty, because they are the ones who buy watt cars. In the second half of 2022, they reached 33% of total sales, another record.

So the government is sparing the goat and the cabbage knowing full well that the advantageous tax conditions offered by its country to companies could well attract other investors, especially if England becomes the homeland of electricity as Norway already is. But he must also, at the same time, take care of his constituents who already have a lot to do with inflation, and see that electric cars are not, for most of the camp, accessible to them on a personal basis, and that not all of them drive a company car.

This article is originally published on




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