Boris Johnson is set to announce that the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles will be brought forward to 2030.
The announcement is expected as part of a landmark speech laying out the government’s 10 point plan for climate change.
Back in February the ban on the sale of such vehicles was brought forward to 2035, but the Prime Minister is now expected to go further, the Financial Times reported.
Electric cars currently make up just 7% of the UK car market, but it is hoped that the announcement will jump start the industry.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said that the new date would present a “monumental challenge” to the car industry.
“We believe many more rapid charging devices are needed in order to give drivers the confidence that they can make longer journeys in a convenient and time efficient manner”, he added.
The deadline for sales of plug-in hybrids is expected to stay at 2035, it was reported.
At the moment, electric vehicles remain more expensive than diesel models, and critics have argued that the government must spend a considerable amount to help convince people to switch to a new model.
The FT said that around £500m in fresh funding for electric car charging infrastructure would be rolled out in the new year.
Tom Clarke, head of electric vehicle strategy at insurers LV, said the government should follow France and Germany in providing consumers with more incentives to buy the vehicles.
“We’re calling on the Government to follow France and Germany’s recent electric vehicle announcements and provide more fiscal incentives and nudges for electric vehicles to drive uptake”, he said.
“Based on our research, we support the motion to introduce different VAT rates for EVs, an initiative which has been suggested by the Behavioural Insights Team and Transport Research Laboratory in their report for Department for Transport.”
A Downing Street spokesperson declined to comment on the reports or the content of Mr Johnson’s upcoming speech.
Ian Plummer, director at Auto Trader, said: “In order to meet the government’s new ban of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, the sale of EVs must overtake the sale of traditional ICE (internal combustion engine) cars by 2024.
“But, on the current sales trajectory this won’t happen until 2029. It’s clear that electric vehicles need to be the preferred option to the masses and not just to those who are environmentalists, early adopters or the wealthy that can afford their high price tags, but that isn’t the case yet.”
The FT said the new timetable was not expected to apply to some hybrid cars which use a mixture of electric and fossil fuel
propulsion and could still be sold until 2035.
An end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars would mark a huge shift in Britain’s automotive market.
Industry figures show that petrol and diesel powered cars accounted for 73.6% of new car sales so far this year, while just 5.5% of sales were for pure electric vehicles, which are typically more expensive. Hybrid vehicles of various types made
up the remaining sales.
Gi Fernando, Chairman of New AutoMotive, an independent transport research organisation aiming to accelerate the switch to electric vehicles in the UK said: “The decision to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles is good news for British motorists.
“It will save UK motorists billions in motoring costs, reduce air pollution in our towns and cities, and create thousands of new jobs in electric car manufacturing and servicing.
“More and more consumers are discovering the benefits of owning an electric car, from cheaper running costs to a better experience behind the wheel. “