Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate becomes law - sets pathway for transition

Thu 04 January 2024 View all news

The UK's zero emission vehicle mandate came into force on January 3rd. It sets what the UK Government says is "the most ambitious regulatory framework for the switch to electric vehicles of any country in the world".

The ZEV mandate sets out the percentage of new zero emission cars and vans manufacturers will be required to produce each year up to 2030. 80% of new cars and 70% of new vans sold in Great Britain are set to be zero emission by 2030, increasing to 100% by 2035.

The introduction of the ZEV mandate follows the Government's decision to delay plans to end of sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2030 to 2035.

It is hoped that the ZEV mandate will help to drive down the costs of electric vehicles and increase their supply – accelerating uptake over the next decade.

The mandate sets slighly lower targets for vans, recognising the challenges of electrification in this sector; the goal is for 10% in 2024 and 70% in 2030. Both cars and vans have the same 100% target by 2035 – although the interim targets from 2030 will be announced later.

The Government says that the mandate is the largest carbon reduction measure in its Net Zero Strategy.

The ZEV mandate applies in England, Wales and Scotland. It’s expected that Northern Ireland will also join when the Assembly is able to pass the required legislation. In the interim, it retains a scaled version of the existing CO₂ emissions regulation for new cars and vans.

Fleet World reports that major carmakers including JLR (formerly Jaguar Land Rover), Toyota, Nissan and Stellantis backed changes or delays to the mandate of one form or another, saying it was too late to revise their plans. Aston Martin Lagonda and McLaren also argued that they couldn’t meet the targets. Tesla, Volkswagen and Ford called for the mandate to be tougher.

The mandate exempts manufacturers selling fewer than 2,500 non-ZEV vehicles from its provisions as well as special purpose vehicles.  

Some stakeholders expressed concerns about the challenge of securing electricity grid connections to support the rollout of chargepoint infrastructure to support the mandated sales growth. 

The Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT) says that further private consumer incentives are likely to be needed to ensure sufficient demand to meet the required supply of vehicles.

The BVRLA expressed concerns that the mandate could artificially fuel the market for new EVs and create a subsequent glut in the used sector – further impacting leasing company residual values.

Image: Courtesy Lenny Kuhne, Unsplash 


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