THE UK Government has pledged to lead by example when it comes to reducing exhaust emissions, by committing to exclusively driving electric cars by the end of the next decade.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has said it will remove all petrol and diesel cars from the Government Car Service vehicle fleet by 2030. From that date onwards, the service will only supply ministers with pure-electric cars.
According to the statement, “around 90 cars” are currently operated by the Government Car Service, with the DfT claiming just under a quarter (23%) of them are electric. By 2022, the DfT expects at least one-in-four of the vehicles will be pure-electric.
This doesn’t mean that every vehicle used by politicians will be electric within the next 11 years, however, as the pledge doesn’t cover cars operated by other departments. But transport secretary Chris Grayling has “written to every government department” asking them to follow suit.
A report by The Times in October 2018 discovered very few government ministers were using zero-emissions cars. According to figures sourced by the newspaper, just six of the Government Car Service vehicles were pure-electric, and there was only one hydrogen fuel cell model in the fleet.
Twenty of the vehicles in the fleet were hybrids, while 57 were exclusively powered by either a petrol or a diesel engine.
The new pure-electric pledge comes shortly after outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May introduced new legislation that would commit the UK to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050.
Some bodies argue the DfT’s electric ministerial car pledge isn’t far-reaching enough. According to the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association chief Gerry Kearney, the proposal will only have a “relatively small impact”, and argued the government would “make a real difference” if it instead reviewed vehicle fleet policies for other branches such as the Civil Service.