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Government’s backtracking of 2035 car ban and lack of support for EV buyers is ‘very disappointing’ – Duke of Richmond

Ministers are sending ‘a terrible message’ to car buyers, believes Goodwood owner.

The Duke of Richmond

The Government’s decision to not support the electric transition in last week’s Budget, and also to delay the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2035 has been branded as ‘very disappointing’ by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon.

Speaking to the PA news agency at a special media day ahead of Goodwood’s 2024 motorsport events, the Duke said the Government is “sending a terrible message” about how serious it is regarding the transition to electric motoring.

He said: “I’m very disappointed [about the Budget] and very disappointed about the back-tracking [of the 2030 to 2035 ban].”

The Duke of Richmond also raised at the lack of Government support for the UK car industry. (Blackball Media)

Last week leading carmakers, energy firms and campaigners signed an open letter which called on chancellor Jeremy Hunt for a fairer VAT system on public EV charging.

However, the Budget assigned no support for electric vehicles, with the chancellor just freezing fuel duty for another 12 months.

Meanwhile, in September 2023, the Government moved the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by five years from 2030 to 2035.

“Whilst there may be a realism to the back-tracking, the government has asked for the motor industry to take all the pain,” he said. “The industry is being told to fund the change, to take all of the challenges and costs on, and they’re being beaten up by the date being moved.

“I think that was a terrible message. For the customer it’s like ‘is electrification really serious?'”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has been criticised for a lack of EV support in last week’s Budget

The Duke expressed his concerns that families are not being helped to switch to electric cars, and that the government should be doing more to support car buyers.

“The simple fact is that electric cars are unaffordable – they’re just not affordable for most people.

“This is where the Chinese are coming in because they are making compromises in battery and range – and they are producing good, affordable cars.’

He added: “To create a situation where pretty much the biggest industry is having to do something that’s so challenging without any support, and also not to have the infrastructure around it, is not acceptable.”

The Chinese-owned British brand MG was announced this week as the celebrated marque at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed as part of its centenary celebrations.

(Source: MG/Joseph Harding)

The sponsorship includes MG taking the central sculpture space at the world famous event, which is due to be held between July 11 and 14.

The Duke also said he believes the future of motoring and motorsport is a combination of different power sources such as hydrogen and sustainable fuels, and not exclusively electric.

This year’s Goodwood Revival will become the first historic motor racing event in the world to be run exclusively on sustainable fuel.

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