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Analysis: UK’s fossil fuel car ban delay may only stall investment

by Janessa Lee

Britain’s decision to delay the ban on new fossil fuel car sales is unlikely to impact the global pace of the shift to electric vehicles (EVs), according to industry analysts. The announcement, which pushed the ban from 2030 to 2035, has drawn criticism from automakers concerned about supply chain disruptions and investment uncertainty. However, analysts argue that the delay is more of a political move as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak seeks to address the cost-of-living crisis and make EVs more affordable for those who cannot currently afford them. While some automakers are displeased with the delay, others, such as Jaguar Land Rover, welcome the certainty that the delay brings. Meanwhile, global automakers have already made significant investments in EVs due to the rising cost of producing combustion engine vehicles. Analysts also note that the UK’s delay is unlikely to have a significant impact on the overall global figures for EV adoption, as the country represents just 2% of global car sales. Despite the delay, automakers like Volvo, Stellantis, and Ford have committed to going 100% electric in Europe by 2030. However, some industry experts, like former Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer, suggest that the delay reflects a lack of long-term planning and industrial strategy on the part of the British government. Additionally, Britain faces a potential “rules of origins” issue with its Brexit trade deal, which could result in 10% tariffs on EVs traded between the UK and the European Union in 2024. This poses a more immediate concern for the EV market than the delay in the fossil fuel ban. Ultimately, while the UK delay has caused some uncertainty for automakers, it is unlikely to significantly alter the global trajectory of the EV shift.

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