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Nissan boss says world ‘needs to move on’ from combustion engine

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The boss of Nissan has warned that the world “needs to move on” from the internal combustion engine days after UK prime minister Rishi Sunak delayed a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.

Sunak’s decision last week to push back the start of the ban by five years to 2035 provoked a backlash from several carmakers.

“There’s no going back. The world needs to move on from internal combustion engines,” Nissan’s chief executive Makoto Uchida said on Monday. “We have a responsibility to be part of the solution and part of the ecosystem.”

Carmakers operating in the UK have spent several years preparing to meet the 2030 deadline. Nissan is the largest, employing about 7,000 people, including at a large plant in Sunderland. The Japanese company is investing £1bn alongside Chinese-owned battery maker AESC to produce more electric vehicles in the UK.

It said on Monday that it would not launch another engine-based model in Europe, where governments are also looking to shift the auto industry towards EVs.

Uchida said Nissan’s line-up of models will be restricted to EVs by the end of the decade, a tightening of the company’s previous targets.

Pushing the ban back to 2035 was one of a series of U-turns on environmental targets Sunak announced last week, policies the government insisted would not threaten the UK’s promise of cutting its carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

While the move drew a strong rebuke from Ford, other carmakers including Toyota said it was a pragmatic step that would bring the UK in line with targets set by European countries.

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