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Saturday 2nd December

UK government finally publishes Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate

Industry welcomes early Christmas present as Sunak aims to accelerate electric switchover without 2030 deadline

Published: 28 Sep 2023

The UK government has finally published the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate. This determines that by 2035 – the government’s recently revised date for the ban on petrol and diesel vehicle sales – all vehicles sold will be 100 per cent electric.

From January 2024 (not that far away, judging by the worrying level of Christmas decorations already on the shelves), electric cars will account for at least 22 per cent of car makers’ overall vehicle sales. Electric vans will have a mandated target of 10 per cent.

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Those percentages rise incrementally as we move towards 2035, getting to 80 per cent and 70 per cent for cars and vans, respectively, by 2030.

Mark Harper, secretary of state for transport, said: “The path to zero emission vehicles announced today makes sure the route to get there is proportionate, pragmatic and realistic for families. Our mandate provides certainty for manufacturers, benefits drivers by providing more options and helps grow the economy by creating skilled jobs. We are also making it easier than ever to own an electric vehicle, from reaching record levels of charge points to providing tax relief for EV owners.”

The £2,500 subsidy for small vans and £5,000 subsidy for large vans (known as the plug-in van grant (PIVG)) continue to be in place.

Thinking about hybrids? Think again. The key phrase here is ‘zero emissions’. Since hybrids have some emissions, they won’t count.

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If a car maker misses their target, it has two choices. If it exceeded the sales target in a previous year, it can use credits earned then – averaging things out basically. If not, it'll need to sidle up to its bestie rival doing well and see if it can trade for their credits.

Mike Hawes, SMMT boss, said: “With less than 100 days to go, manufacturers finally have clarity on what they are required to sell next year and up to 2030. The industry is investing billions in decarbonisation and recognises the importance of this mechanism as the single most important measure to deliver net zero. Delivering the mandate will challenge the industry, despite the flexibilities now included to support pragmatic, equitable delivery given this diverse sector.

“It is worth noting the mandate means the UK still retains the most ambitious transition timeline of any major market but without any private consumer incentives. Furthermore, the lack of a post-2030 regulatory framework creates investment uncertainty.

“Manufacturers offer a vast range of zero emission vehicles, but demand must also match supply. We need a buoyant market that delivers fleet renewal at scale, ensures a vibrant used EV market and gives consumers confidence. This means an attractive package of fiscal and other incentives, mandated infrastructure targets and a consistent message that encourages drivers to switch now.”

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