Ford Boss: Government Needs To Re-Think Fuel Ban

Ford Boss: Government Needs To Re-Think Fuel Ban

The Boss of Ford in Europe has expressed concerns around the government’s plan to ban new diesel and petrol car sales by 2035…

‘Huge Investment’ 

Stuart Rowley, the boss of Ford in Europe, believes the government’s fuel ban in 2035 is “hugely ambitious”. Speaking on Radio 5 Live he said, “whether we are going to achieve 2035 or 2032, it’s going to require huge investment and for us to work together as an industry, the government, cities and consumers to make this transition”. He’s called on the government to invest in infrastructure, especially charging points. In addition, he expressed dismay at the decision to include plug-in hybrids in the ban; vehicles which, be believes, serve as a useful transition between combustion engines and electric options.

The government claims that plug-in hybrids are rarely charged by their owners. This is something seemingly corroborated by research and polls. It’s also pledged to double funding for charging infrastructure. According to Zap-Map, an app that records the locations of charging locations, there are 10,800 locations dotted around the UK. However, they aren’t spread around evenly. For example, 25% of them are located in London. Meanwhile, just 3% are located in Wales. There are also concerns for drivers who lack off-road parking; meaning they couldn’t rely on home chargers should they transition to electric vehicles.

Undermining Manufacturers 

Jim Holder, editorial director of Autocar, has spoken in defence of car manufacturers; claiming they’re already investing heavily in the electrification process. He said, “most manufacturers are spending hundreds of millions of pounds of investment, launching them [electric cars] this year. All of a sudden they’re having the rug pulled from under their feet”. He added, “of course that is terrible business, but it also undermines what they’re trying to achieve. They want a stepping stone technology towards fully electric cars. They understand that consumers on the whole are very interested in electric cars but they aren’t buying them. Just 1.6% of car sales last year were fully electric”.

Ultimately, there’s a conflict of interest between politicians and car manufacturers. Whilst all parties seem to accept the inevitability of electrification (enthusiastically or not) they have different interests. The former wants to be seen to be taking far-reaching action on emissions and the Climate Crisis. Indeed, it’s become a ‘mark’ of a forward-looking, competent administration in Europe; a potential vote-winner. Automakers, however, are grappling with an exceptionally challenging transformation process at a time of significant economic challenges. They want a longer, steadier transition that won’t disrupt their operations and profitability.

In the end, it may not be a question of ‘wanting’ to ban diesel and petrol. Instead, it might a question of whether, realistically, we can afford to.

Ford’s 2019 Profits ‘Wiped Out’ By Fourth Quarter Loss –

Should We Really Be Placing A Ban On Plug-In Hybrids? –

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