Ford puts UK PM Rishi Sunak on blast after expected delay in 2030 ICE car ban

After an expected delay in the UK’s target to ban new ICE vehicle sales, Ford says prolonging it any further will risk the country’s transition.

Ford says UK 2030 ICE car ban delay will be a mistake

“Our business needs three things from the UK government: ambition, commitment, and consistency,” Lisa Brankin, Ford UK’s managing director, said in a statement Wednesday.

Brankin added, “A relaxation of 2030 would undermine all three.” The statement comes as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to delay some of the government’s clean energy policies this week.

Ford’s UK chair argued pushing back the 2030 timeline would be a mistake. “This is the biggest industry transformation in over a century, and the UK 2030 target is a vital catalyst to accelerate Ford into a cleaner future,” she stated.

The potential delay comes only three years after the government announced its intentions to transition to new electric cars and van sales by 2030.

Ford has already invested £430 million ($533 million) into its UK development and manufacturing facilities. The company says it has “further funding planned for the 2030 timeframe.”

Ford’s Halewood plant (Source: Ford)

In 2021, the American automaker announced that 100% of its passenger vehicles in Europe will be all-electric by 2030. Ford increased its investment to £380 million ($471 million) in its Halewood plant last year to build EV components and support the shift.

“We need the policy focus trained on bolstering the EV market in the short term and supporting consumers while headwinds are strong: infrastructure remains immature, tariffs loom and cost-of-living is high,” Brankin said.

Ford electric Explorer (Source: Ford)

Ford unveiled the electric version of the Explorer for Europe in March, its best-selling SUV. The electric Ford Explorer is expected to start at around 45,000 euros ($49.5K) and will roll out next summer.

Credit: Ford Motor Europe

The automaker plans to have nine electric models in its European lineup by 2024, including four passenger vehicles and five commercial vans. Passenger EVs include an electric Puma, Explorer, Mustang Mach-E, and a sports crossover.

Electrek’s Take

Brankin has a point. Delaying the ban any further would likely risk the transition altogether. Not only that but also the UK auto industry.

Automakers and other companies are already investing heavily in the transition, and a delay would only set back the progress.

What’s needed is further investment, as Brankin explains, in infrastructure and other measures to bring down the high cost of living. The UK has struggled to keep up with other key auto markets in attracting EV and battery plant investments. A delay will only set it back further.