Ex-Top Gear host Richard Hammond makes major petrol and diesel car ban prediction

Ex-Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond believes that “the majority” of vehicles on UK roads will still be run in petrol and diesel engines by 2050 in a blow to the EV market.

The popular TV host stressed combustion models would “have to” keep running as he claims the current rate of electric vehicle transition cannot be sustained.

He even hinted that synthetic fuels could be the future of clean motoring instead of a complete switch to EVs.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Richard said: “EVs will be part of the picture, of course they are.

“But at the current rate of electrification, even if we could keep it up – which we can’t because China is withholding the rare earth minerals we need – by 2050 the majority of cars on the road will still be, and have to be, internal combustion engines.

“So we have to solve that, and synthetic fuels will be the way.”

The Government has legislated for a 2035 sales ban on new petrol and diesel models in a bid to clean up UK roads by 2050.

The policy was set to be introduced for 2030 it was pushed back by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last year. However, there have been signs that consumer demand for electric models is starting to plateau.

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed battery electric vehicles were up 3.8 percent in March 2024 compared to 12 months before.

This accounts for an extra 1,700 sales with 48,388 models leaving forecourts over the course of the last month.

But, petrol models were up 9.2 percent with an epic 177,000 cars rolling off dealerships.

Earlier this week, Aston Martin boss Lawrence Stroll raised concerns over the consumer interest in new electric models.

He also revealed the British sports car brand would not stop making petrol and diesel models as long as they were allowed to.

It comes just two months after they pushed back the release of their electric vehicle with a new launch date of 2026.

Richard admitted potential EV buyers had been left in the dark with limited information about how the technology could benefit road users.

He explained: “The biggest financial decision we make as individuals, with a bearing on the carbon future, is the car.

“And people might end up buying electric cars that simply don’t work in their application, or not buying one when they’d be perfect. But we’re not properly informed.”

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