Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

Aston Martin Warns U.K.'s Petrol-Car Ban Could Be 'Hazardous'

  • Investment in electric-car technology needs to start ‘today’
  • Without research funding, the U.K. will be a battery importer

Aston Martin warned that the future of niche British carmakers could be in jeopardy if the U.K. doesn’t flank its plan to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2040 with research-and-development aid. 

“Legislation without the required support that you see in Germany, that you see in China, that you see in Japan, that you see in Korea, is potentially hazardous to the future of our domestic industry,” Chief Marketing Officer Simon Sproule said in a phone interview, adding that the U.K. risks simply becoming a massive importer of batteries if it doesn’t fund the transition to zero-emissions technology.

Even with help, a future with only electric vehicles poses a challenge for automakers like Aston Martin, McLaren Automotive Ltd. and Morgan Motor Co. as cars like the Aston Martin DB11 would lose the characteristic growl of their engines, a key selling point for performance vehicles.

Aston Martin will test whether its customers are willing to pay for a battery-powered model when it rolls out the all-electric RapidE in 2019. And by 2040, the Gaydon, England-based manufacturer plans to offer a zero-emission variant of all of its models, but “electric vehicles won’t work in every situation for every consumer,” said Sproule.

“Does the U.K. have a global aspiration to be a leader in this space? I’m sure the politicians will say absolutely, they do,” said Sproule. “Well let’s see the evidence of that, because that investment needs to start today.”

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