Cars: The End of Petrol and Diesel? - Tonight

In just nine years time the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned in the UK. It’s a big ‘green’ move by the government. But what does it mean for consumers - and for the car industry itself? Motoring journalist Ginny Buckley has been finding out.

When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, our car engines are one of the main offenders.

As we’ve reported previously on Tonight, new petrol and diesel vehicles are being phased out, to be replaced by electric models. At first it was going to be 2040... then 2035… but last November Boris Johnson announced that was being moved forward still further, to 2030. 

There are currently more than 150 different models of electric and plug in hybrids available in the UK. It’s the fastest growing type of car but was still only a small proportion of the vehicles sold last year - 6.7%.

One of the big concerns we have about electric cars is something called range anxiety. It’s a very real thing and it’s the fear that your battery will run out of range and you won’t be able to reach your destination. So what does happen when the battery runs out of juice? In tonight’s programme we put this to the test.

A lot of our patrols have been going to people at out of order charge points, so the person’s planned their journey very carefully, got to the charge point and then frustratingly it’s not working.

Simon Williams, RAC

It’s estimated we’ll need about two million public charge points by 2030. There’s currently around 37,000 connectors across the country and not all of them are fast chargers - some can take hours to top your car up.

Then there’s the 40% of people who don’t have driveways - so can’t charge at home. A government scheme has been offering local authorities grants to install residential points.

We sent a freedom of information request about this to every council across the UK. We got 217 usable responses back out of 418 councils contacted. 

Less than half (88) said they'd applied to the scheme. 59 said they’d look to install residential charge points in the future but 62 councils said they had no plans to.

Of those who had applied to the scheme, 1,665 charge points were installed as a result, with a total of £8,859,780 granted by the Government. 

37 councils said they had plans to apply or were already in the process of applying to the scheme but 86 councils said they had no current plans to. 

This month the Government announced £20 million extra funding for this scheme to double the number of on-street chargers to 8,000 but experts say we need to install at least five times that number every year!

In a survey of car owners carried out for Tonight, three quarters of people had concerns about charging electric vehicles and more than 80% said they felt they cost too much.

So if you’re not quite ready to make the switch over you don’t need to worry- petrol and diesel aren’t going anywhere quite yet. If a hybrid model appeals, the ban on their sale doesn’t come in until 2035.

But the direction of travel is clear: for cars electric is the future, however long it takes.'Cars: The End of Petrol and Diesel?' is on ITV at 7:30pm.