BMW Responds to Delay in UK’s ICE Ban
The automotive industry is experiencing a major shift towards electric vehicles, but the pace of this transition differs between countries. In the United Kingdom, the government recently announced a five-year delay on the ban of internal combustion engines (ICE) for new passenger cars, matching the European Union’s timeline of 2035. Surprisingly, Ford UK Chair and Managing Director, Lisa Brankin, expressed opposition to this delay.
Brankin stated in a press release, “The auto industry is investing to meet that challenge. This is the biggest industry transformation in over a century and the UK 2030 target is a vital catalyst to accelerate Ford into a cleaner future. Our business needs three things from the UK government: ambition, commitment, and consistency. A relaxation of 2030 would undermine all three.” Ford has also pledged $50 billion globally for electrification, with £430 million ($532 million USD) allocated for the UK to meet the original 2030 deadline.
This response from Ford stands in contrast to the opposition voiced by several European countries, including Germany, home to automotive giants like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen Group. Germany, along with six other nations, raised concerns about the EU’s 2035 ban in 2022 and subsequently formed an alliance in March 2023. While the ICE ban time frame remained intact, the EU allowed new vehicles running on synthetic fuels to be exempt from the ban.
Joining Ford in opposing the delay is the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Chief Executive Mike Hawes emphasized the automotive industry’s significant investments in electric vehicles and called on the government to maintain zero-emission commitments. Hawes said, “The automotive industry has and continues to invest billions in new electric vehicles as the decarbonization of road transport is essential if net zero is to be delivered. Government has played a key part in bringing some of that investment to the UK, and Britain can – and should – be a leader in zero-emission mobility both as a manufacturer and market.”
The statement from Hawes also highlighted the importance of consumer demand, stating, “To make this a reality, however, consumers must want to make the switch, which requires from Government a clear, consistent message, attractive incentives, and charging infrastructure that gives confidence rather than anxiety. Confusion and uncertainty will only hold them back.”
Motor1.com reached out to other automakers for their response to the delay, including BMW. The German automaker emphasized its commitment to battery electric vehicle (BEV) technology and the significant investments it has made in expanding the range of BEV models. BMW recently announced a £600 million investment in the Oxford MINI plant to produce new BEV models. The company advocates for a technology-open approach to carbon-reducing innovations and emphasizes the need for a widely accessible recharging infrastructure to support the uptake of BEVs.
While the UK’s decision to delay the ICE ban has received mixed reactions within the automotive industry, it is clear that the shift towards electric vehicles is inevitable. Automakers like Ford and BMW are actively investing in electrification, and the industry as a whole is aligned with the goal of achieving zero-emission mobility. The key now is for governments to provide clear, consistent support and create an environment that encourages consumer adoption of electric vehicles through incentives and the development of robust charging infrastructure.