Nissan has vowed to make the switch to all-electric by 2030, despite Rishi Sunak pushing back a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2035.
The Japanese car manufacturer’s chief executive Makoto Uchida said “there is no going back now” as he committed his company to the initial deadline set by the prime minister.
Sunak controversially pushed back the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars as part of a watering down of the government’s environmental commitments last Friday.
The controversial move came after years of efforts from car manufacturers to transition to electric vehicles by 2030 and attracted criticism from environmentalists, businesses, international allies and some Tory MPs.
Nissan is a major employer in the UK with 7,000 staff working across three sites, including its main manufacturing hub in Sunderland.
Unveiling the company’s latest battery-powered car design in London on Monday, Mr Uchida said: “Nissan will make the switch to full electric by 2030 in Europe – we believe it is the right thing to do for our business, our customers and for the planet.
“More than a million customers have already joined our journey and experienced the fun of a Nissan electric vehicle, and there is no turning back now.”
Downing Street has faced backlash from car manufacturers over its decision to push back the petrol car ban.
Ford UK chairman Lisa Brankin said pushing back the deadline to 2035 would threaten future investment in the UK.
She said: “Our business needs three things from the UK government: ambition, commitment and consistency. A relaxation of 2030 would undermine all three.
“We need the policy focus trained on bolstering the EV (electric vehicle) market in the short term and supporting consumers while headwinds are strong: infrastructure remains immature, tariffs loom and cost-of-living is high.”
But Mr Sunak U-turned on the ban, claiming such net zero targets would impose “unacceptable costs” on ordinary people.
The prime minister said he would stick to a promise to reduce the UK’s emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050, but with “a more pragmatic, proportionate, and realistic approach.”
His decision came after the government handed out millions in funding to car manufacturers to boost the production of electric vehicles.
Earlier this month, BMW-owned Mini reportedly received a £75m taxpayer subsidy to convert its factory in Oxford to all-electric by 2030. Meanwhile, Jaguar Land Rover received £500m in government funding to build an electric vehicle factory worth £4million.
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