EU poised to ban sale of petrol motorcycles in 2035… but could UK be stricter?

The European Union is poised to table a 2035 deadline on the ban of all petrol-fuelled vehicles... but could the UK use this as a chance to pre-empt this?

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The European Union is understood to be close to agreeing a ban on all fossil-fuelled motorcycles from 2035, which would give manufacturers little more than 13 years to entirely electrify their ranges to keep them on sale in 27 countries.

The last couple of years have seen various nations announce plans to phase out conventionally fuelled vehicles but have so far focused their attentions on the larger four-wheel and public transport industry.

Indeed, with most communications failing to explicitly say whether motorcycles - which emit far fewer emissions - are included in this ban, manufacturers have been hesitant to commit large resources into EV technology with no firm date to work towards.

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It now appears a date has been set for countries within the European Union, which is tabling a 2035 deadline that is written to incorporate ‘all vehicles’, according to GPOne.

It comes as part of a ‘Fit for 55’ climate reform package which aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030 from the levels recorded in 1990, with the whole ban on petrol vehicles by 2035 forming part of this.

As it stands, this is a more lenient deadline than proposed by individual countries with a number of EU member states quoting 2030 as the year petrol-powered machines will be phased out, though again the ambiguous wording doesn’t make it clear if this is merely for cars or all vehicles.

Could the UK get the jump on the EU with a stricter deadline?

However, this EU proposal could end up being bad news for UK bikers not keen on the thought of going electric. Indeed, though the United Kingdom is no longer part of the EU and is under no obligation to follow this remit, the government could see this as an opportunity to show the UK is forward-thinking with green initiatives and plot an earlier deadline.

As it stands, the UK’s plans have only quoted four-wheel machinery, stating that ‘new car sales from 2030, hybrid vehicles will continue to be allowed until 2035’.

If the UK was keen to ‘get one over’ on the EU, motorcycles could be incorporated into this ruling to ban the sale of petrol-powered models in just nine years time.

If there is a disparity in the rulings, it threatens to greatly affect which models will be available in the run up to the deadlines with manufacturers unlikely to want to go to the expense of marketing new models if they are banned five years earlier than they would be in Europe.

As it stands, Denmark is the only European nation to have confirmed a ban on ‘all petrol vehicles’ - in 2030 - with every other nations instead quoting ‘all cars’.

Though sales of electric models is soaring in the UK with sales in 2021 up 210% compared with the first six months of 2020 (844 vs 2619) according to the MCIA, they are mostly low-energy scooters. Electric two-wheelers account for 6% of all two-wheel sales in 2021.