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ZEV Mandate confirmed, requiring 80% of new cars sold in Britain to be zero emission by 2030

The Government has today (28 September) set out the percentage of new zero emission cars manufacturers will be required to produce each year up to 2030, following the Prime Minister’s decision to delay the ban on new diesel and petrol cars from 2030 to 2035. 

The zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate unveiled today 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. The 2035 end of sale date puts the UK in line with other major global economies, including France, Germany, Sweden and Canada.

The Government says that “the move provides certainty for manufacturers and will help families make the switch to electric, by providing more time for the second-hand EV market to grow and charging to roll out more widely across the country. The plans provide investors with confidence to invest in charging infrastructure – with 43% more public chargepoints this year than last, putting the country well on track for the Government’s target of 300,000 charge points by 2030.”

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 already plan to reach 100% sooner. 

Latest industry figures show 20% of new cars sold in August were zero emission, and there are now 48,100 public chargepoints, in addition to chargepoints installed in homes where most charging takes place.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper 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 chargepoints to providing tax relief for EV owners.”

The Government has also introduced several schemes to lower the up front and running costs of owning an EV. This includes a plug-in van grant of up to £2,500 for small vans and £5,000 for large vans until at least 2025 and £350 off the cost of home place chargepoints for people living in flats. This is in addition to EVs being cheaper to run than petrol and diesel cars, with research showing that electric cars are around £150 cheaper to maintain a year.

The used car market also continues to grow, providing more affordable options for drivers. In the first quarter of 2023, compared with the same period in 2022, used battery electric vehicle sales rose by 57%.

The measures give the wide range of manufacturers flexibility through a trading scheme, enabling them to bank compliance in years when they exceed annual targets for use in future years or trade them with other manufacturers that have fallen short. In the first year car manufacturers can borrow for up to 75% of their annual target, falling to 25% in 2026, to support them in the early stages.

The ZEV mandate is a devolved policy, and has been developed with the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, and Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure.

BMW has recently announced its intention to invest over £6bn in its UK factories, including a multi-million-pound investment to transform its Oxford plant, securing 4,000 high-quality jobs and strengthening the electric vehicle supply chain. This followed other major investments, including £4 billion from Tata to build a new gigafactory in the UK, and £1 billion from Nissan and AESC to create an EV manufacturing hub in Sunderland.

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT): “The automotive industry is investing billions in decarbonisation and recognises the importance of the zero emission vehicle mandate as the single most important measure to deliver net zero.

“We welcome the clarity the mandate’s publication provides for the next six years and the flexibilities it contains to support pragmatic, equitable delivery across this diverse sector. Manufacturers offer a vast range of zero emission vehicles, but demand must also match supply – that means making ZEVs affordable by incentivising drivers to make the switch now and delivering the infrastructure to meet consumer expectations.”

The Government says it is working at pace alongside private investment to grow charging infrastructure for EV drivers, supporting record instalment rates this past month. Applications also recently opened for the first round of the government’s £381 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) fund which will support the installation of tens of thousands of new chargers across the country, increasing EV infrastructure in every area and ensuring the UK’s charging network can support the increasing number of EV drivers and those considering the switch.

Consequences of the delay to the end of petrol and diesel car sales from 2030 to 2035

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