MPs have been told that National Grid would support bringing forward the date when sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned to 2030.

Graeme Cooper, director for electric vehicles at National Grid, said the network would have the required capacity if the target date of 2040 was brought forward 10 years.

He was giving evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, which is holding an inquiry into developing the market and infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Vernon Coaker MP asked Cooper whether the grid could cope with bringing the target forward 10 years and Cooper responded: “Absolutely, and we would probably actively support that.”

He added: “I think that we would support a more ambitious target. It gives clear focus. It would allow the networks industry to respond appropriately, but if it does not change we can deliver to 2040.”

Cooper also predicted the take-up of electric vehicles would be high by 2030, saying: “Even if you leave 2040 as a target, I think the list of people buying combustion engine cars post 2030 will be a very short list.”

The MP said it was his personal view, not the committee’s, that pulling the target forward would be helpful.

Cooper responded: “It is also important, on a world stage, that the UK looks to at least match our neighbours, and maybe try to be more ambitious.”

He confirmed the most “ambitious” plan he was aware of was Norway’s target of 2025.