Ford, Toyota, Nissan get reprieve from UK plan to ban fossil fuel cars

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Automakers have welcomed the government’s commitment to reducing Britain’s carbon emissions but they also warned that the transition to electric will require lots of government support.

Ford, the UK’s largest automaker by sales, said in a statement: “We must ensure that any added cost to customers is lightened through a range of incentives to ensure that motoring remains affordable for the many rather than just the few.”

Ford is ramping up its hybrid offering with a full-hybrid version of the Kuga compact crossover that goes on sale this week.

The company’s statement said that a “range of technologies, including mild hybrids, hybrids and plug-in hybrids will still be required to increase the number of electric miles driven on the route to zero emissions.”

The UK government’s push to lower transport emissions included the offer 1.3 billion pounds ($1.7 million) to help increase the number of charge points. It also pledged 582 million pounds in grants for those buying zero or ultra-low emissions vehicles.

Also available will be further 500 million pounds to a fund that supports development of low carbon-emissions technologies, such as electric motors and batteries.

The government has already pledged one billion pounds to support the construction of a battery factory, a key piece of investment for the UK if it is to remain an important automotive production hub after the twin upheavals of the shift to electric and the country’s exit from the European Union at the end of the year.

Nissan this week again repeated its warning that leaving the bloc’s single market without a deal would make Sunderland unsustainable.

The UK government giving hybrids its blessing with an extra five years of sales will help Nissan but given that four out of every five cars from Sunderland are exported to the EU, a trade deal remains a bigger priority.

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Saurabh Shukla

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