When do all cars have to be electric?
September 2023 Update
Wednesday 20th September 2023: Rishi Sunak announced that the government is pushing back the ban on new petrol and diesel cars by 5 years to 2035.
They have also removed the 5-year buffer for hybrid cars. Before, hybrid vehicles could be sold until 2040. But now they will also be banned from 2035.
Only full electric cars and vans can be sold as of 2035.
The UK government plans to go electric by 2035
The government plans for all new cars to be zero-emission by 2035. Initial plans set out in 2020 aimed for a 2030 ban, but this was delayed to 2035.
From 2035, you’ll only be able to buy zero-emission cars whether that’s electric or hydrogen-powered.
The UK government has a net-zero emissions target for 2050. By banning the sale of traditional internal combustion engines (ICE), we’ll be able to meet this goal much easier. This is part of a larger push to tackle climate change and prevent pollution.
This change will also create thousands more eco-friendly jobs across the country in the green energy sector, like nuclear power.
So, when do all cars have to be electric in the UK?
The production and sale of new cars powered by petrol or diesel internal combustion engines will be fully banned by 2035. This means you won’t be able to buy a new car that’s not electric or hydrogen.
Initial plans allowed hybrid vehicles a stay of execution for five years. But with the recent changes, hybrids are banned from 2035 too.
New hybrid cars with zero tailpipe emissions for a “significant distance” (which is still yet to be defined by the government) were going to be allowed to be produced and sold until 2035. This included both full hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
But now any engine with a ICE component is banned from 2035, no matter how far they can drive in fully electric mode.
From 2035, the only cars you’ll be able to buy new are EVs.
You’ll still be able to drive and buy second-hand petrol, diesel and hybrid cars after the deadline though.
So you don’t have to worry if you’ve just bought yourself a new ICE vehicle as you’ll be able to drive it for years to come.
Timeline of petrol and diesel car ban
2017: Michael Gove announced the sale of new petrol and diesel cars would be banned by 2040.
2020: The government concluded that it would be feasible to bring the ban forward to 2030 to meet our net-zero emissions goal.
2023: Rishi Sunak announced the government is pushing back the ban on petrol and diesel cars to 2035.
What will happen to petrol cars after 2035
You’ll still be able to drive and sell used petrol cars after 2035. The ban only affects the production and sale of new petrol cars.
This may change in the future, but currently, there are no plans to ban the driving or sale of second-hand petrol models.
What will happen to diesel cars after 2035
The same goes for diesel cars. If you already owned a diesel car before 2035, you don't have to worry as you can still drive and sell it.
Should I make the switch to electric now?
Whilst the ban on new ICE vehicles draws closer, it’s not necessary to make the switch to an electric car ASAP.
Only change to an electric car if it suits your lifestyle, budget and needs. Consider if you’ll be able to charge your EV regularly (whether that’s at work, at home or in a nearby public charging station.)
If not you could make the switch to a hybrid vehicle. Plug-in hybrids need charging less frequently, and it’s also not a massive deal if you run out of battery as you always have the engine as a backup.
Then there are full hybrids, also known as self-charging hybrids, that also offer limited electric-only driving, but don’t require charging. Instead, they use regenerative braking to regain the energy that’s usually lost when slowing down, turning it into electric power that’s used when needed.
Mild hybrids work in a similar way but typically can’t drive in electric-only mode as the electric motor and battery are much smaller. However, these are usually the most affordable type of hybrid powertrain.
If it’s time to make the change to an electric or plug-in hybrid car, there are a few grants you can take advantage of. These make integrating electric driving into your life much easier. EV grants include:
Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) - grant of 75% contribution (up to £350) for wall box installation at home. Eligibility criteria apply.
Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) - grant of 75% contribution (up to £350) for charging points installed at a workplace. Eligibility criteria apply.
On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) - An initiative for local authorities to access funding for on-street charge points.
Plug-in Grant (Formerly PiCG) - automatic discounts of either 20% or 35% applied to eligible electric vehicles (no longer includes cars.) Eligibility criteria apply.
For more information, read our guide to the latest electric car grants & incentives.
Get in touch
Contact your local Pentagon Group dealership to learn all about electric cars. Or you can read our electric car buying guide for more information.