Government announces details of ZEV Mandate - setting trajectory to zero emission cars and vans
The Government has announced final details of the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate which sets out the trajectory for all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2035. While there are near-term amendments for vans compared with the original proposals, the central trajectory for cars has been retained, despite the Prime Minister's recent announcement of a delay to the end of sale of petrol and diesel-powered cars and vans from 2030 to 2035.
The ZEV Mandate will require requires 80% of new cars and 70% of new vans sold in Great Britain to be zero emission by 2030, increasing to 100% by 2035. Compared with the original consultation proposed targets for sales of new vans have been reduced in 2025 (to 16%), but increased in 2026 (to 24%) with penalties for non-compliance in 2024 also reduced.
The ZEV Mandate exempts special purpose vehicles (SPVs) from its provisions as well as manufacturers selling fewer than 2,500 non-ZEV vehicles. There are additional credits for ZEVs used in car clubs.
The Government says that the move is intended to provide certainty for manufacturers and provide investors with confidence to invest in charging infrastructure.
The Mandate sets minimum annual targets, starting with a requirement for 22% of new cars sold in 2024 to be zero emission, as originally proposed. This will rise each year up to 100% by 2035, although some manufacturers plan to reach 100% sooner.
Responding to the announcement, Zemo's Chief Executive, Andy Eastlake said: "We're heartened to see that many of Zemo's proposals in our submission to the ZEV Mandate consultation are embedded in the final decision.
"After the uncertainty around the announced delay to implementation of the non-ZEV phase-out deadline (to 2035), the details in the Mandate clearly show that the UK is committed to accelerating the shift to zero emission cars and vans.
"Introducing some flexibility in the first year or two - particularly for vans where the market is a less mature - is a sensible approach but we're aware of considerable challenges to come to ensure that the market exists for the growing future supply of zero emission cars and vans - a challenge that Zemo intends to play a significant role in overcoming.
"We hope to see confirmation of a trajectory for the adoption of zero emission vehicles of other types as soon as possible to give clarity and certainty to all sectors. "
Responding to the announcement, a letter from Professor Piers Forster, Chair of the Climate Change Committee, to the Secretary of State, said that the switch to electric cars and vans is the largest single driver of future emissions reduction in the UK’s Net Zero pathway. The Mandate will be vital in delivering these savings. The letter said that the Mandate will save money for motorists, as a typical electric car is expected to be cost-saving to own relative to a conventional vehicle by the mid-2020s. (Full CCC response here.)
Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said: "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 chargepoints to providing tax relief for EV owners."
SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes 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...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, including a definition as to the vehicles eligible for sale from 2030 to 2035, 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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