Petrol and diesel cars were set to be scrapped by 2040 although this was brought forward to 2035 by the government last week. The ban will see the sale of petrol and diesel cars suspended in an effort to remove all highly-polluting cars by 2050 to meet the zero-carbon target.
However, transport secretary Grant Shapps stunned listeners by revealing plans to introduce the ban in a little over a decade is currently in consultation.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: “Michael Gove announced the original 2040, the Prime Minister last week said actually we would like to do that by 2035 at the latest
“We have said 2035 or even 2032. That’s in consultation, we will say 2032-2035.”
The Scottish government announced plans to phase out new petrol and diesel cars by 2032 three years ago.
READ MORE: Motoring industry attacks plans to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2035
Grant Shapps said petrol and diesel cars could be banned by 2032
The introduction of an earlier 2035 car ban in the UK was met with caution by motoring experts when it was announced last week.
Experts are sceptical over whether the government can introduce extra electric infrastructure needed to transition to fully electric cars in time for the switchover.
Earlier in the month, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said it was concerning the government was moving the goalposts on such a critical issue.
He warned accelerating a challenging ambition will take more than industry investment and urged the government to reveal how it would fulfil their ambitions in a sustainable way.
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AA President, Edmund King said drivers supported the measure to reduce emissions but admitted the stretched targets would be challenging to meet.
A reduction in the timespan from 2035 to 2032 will give the motoring industry even less time to prepare for the transition which could lead to panic among manufacturers.
Transitioning from the established petrol and diesel markets to electric may also prove to be a challenge in the short term.
SMMT data has revealed although electric car sales were boosted by 144 percent last year, fully electric cars make up just under two percent of the total UK car market.
Almost 1.5million new petrol cars left forecourts last year compared to just 37,000 battery electric vehicles.
There are also concerns whether electric cars would be purchased by consumers after surveys revealed “range anxiety” – running out of charge – is a critical issue.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps aimed to ease worries during his radio appearance by confirming budgets were in place to boost infrastructure across the country.
Speaking on 5 Live he added: “We have domestic car producers and we want to help them to transition so we are doing a lot of work.
“In fact tomorrow I’m meeting with the car manufacturers on this very subject.
“We are putting in about £1.5billion at the moment and there is more to come.”
Grant Shapps has previously claimed there are more electric charging bays than petrol stations in the UK, although these are mostly located in urban areas such as London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has claimed no driver will be more than 30 miles away from a charging station and massive investment is needed to make the claims a reality.
Environmental groups will welcome the news of an earlier car ban which could see emissions dramatically reduced earlier than initial targets.
Last week, environmental expert Chaitanya Kumar, claimed the ban should be introduced even sooner.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “The government should bring the target further forward to 2030, as several other countries have already done.
“This would send a stronger signal to the car industry to shift investment and meet the rising demand for EVs in the UK.”