UK car industry needs more clarity from government over ZEV mandate | Top Gear
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Tuesday 5th December

UK car industry needs more clarity from government over ZEV mandate

Zero emission vehicle sales rules are yet to be published by No. 10

Published: 21 Sep 2023

The automotive industry and wider supply chain is still waiting for government action. At SMMT Electrified 2023, multiple parties stated that the future was uncertain – probably not helped by yesterday’s announcement on the revised strategy for the UK’s net zero targets.

The zero emission vehicle mandate is a set of rules the government plans to introduce to encourage car makers to push sales of electrified models harder. Brands will be required to ensure electrified models make up at least 22 per cent of their overall sales from 2024. Year-on-year, that percentage will increase.

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Opening the conference, Mike Hawes, chief exec of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: “What precisely the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate will mean for our transition [is yet to be seen]. Until we see the regulations, we can't plan and we cannot deliver. We still don't even know what vehicles can be sold from 2030.”

Well, since Monday, at least that latter ponder is no more. All the cars can be sold from 2030. What will still be on sale from 2035, however, still remains a bit of a mystery. What, for example, is happening with hybrid cars? Nobody really knows. And that’s not the only concern.

Stuart Southgate, director of sustainability at Ford, said: “We're very supportive of the ZEV mandate because it does give us the ability to identify what future charging capacity is required. We're not going to get there alone – [we need] partnerships with the government’s support... [But] we are concerned with the timing – it's so close. The first of January's only 12 weeks away.”

When the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper, took to the stage, he assured delegates the long-awaited rules are going to be announced imminently. “I know above all else, businesses want certainty and a level playing field, which is what our zero emission vehicle mandate is for. Indeed, very soon it will require a minimum number of new zero emission car sales in the run up to 2030, giving manufacturers the certainty to increase capacity and prioritising UK drivers for future supplies of zero emission vehicles.”

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Lynn Calder, boss of Ineos Automotive, said: “Whether you're thinking about the changes that the mandate will make in 2024, or 2030, or indeed Europe, which is going to go for 2035 for the outright ban, I think you need a plan. You need a very, very clear step-by-step, cohesive, coherent plan for industry and government policy.”

A plan seems a very reasonable place to start. While we all wait, what would your plan be if you were in the Chancellor's shoes? Share below.

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