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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 criticism from the UK car industry.

“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 would be restricted to EVs by the end of the decade, a tightening of the company’s previous targets.

He also said the Japanese carmaker urgently needed to “transform” itself to compete with Tesla and new Chinese carmakers, and that it expected higher-than-forecast sales of EVs around the world, including in North America.

“We had our plan, but the world is evolving,” Uchida told the Financial Times. “We need to adapt.”

Nissan plans to have 19 EVs on sale by the end of the decade and will sell its hybrid models in countries that “do not have the sufficient infrastructure” for charging electric-only vehicles.

In China, the company was preparing for a “huge price war” on electric vehicles, while Uchida also warned that new Chinese brands with export plans for Europe had developed much faster than expected. “None of us expected that speed,” he said.

Nissan is preparing a new strategy for later this year. As it draws up its plans, it may consider carving out parts of the business into different units, similar to alliance partner Renault, which had separated out its engine and battery divisions, he said. Separating businesses “could be” one option for Nissan, he said, adding they were “looking at many things”.

He said the UK government’s decision on EVs would not change Nissan’s plans for Sunderland, which the company uses as an export base for 146 countries.

“Regardless of what the government would say, we have to proceed with what we have planned, especially around electrification in Europe, and especially in the UK.”

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 net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

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

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