New ZEV mandate would force an EV quota on car manufacturers’ output

The Government have published their ‘Consultation on a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate and CO2 emissions regulation for new cars and vans in the UK’ which proposes legislation that would punish car manufacturers who fail to switch their output over to zero emission vehicles quickly enough. 

The headline figure is that 22% of new cars should be ZEVs by as early as next year, rising to 80% by 2030 and 100% by 2035.

For vans the trajectory moves from 10% in 2024 to 70% in 2030 and 100% in 2035.

Electric vehicles made up 16.6% of new car registrations in 2022 but according to Auto Trader research, only eight of 50 brands met next year’s criteria in the first two months of this year.

Trading schemes will be brought in (using powers in the Climate Change Act, 2008) whereby manufacturers will receive allowances to sell non-ZEV vehicles up to a given percentage of their fleet of new cars and vans, with the intention that ZEVs account for the remainder of sales (the ZEV target). Any excess non-ZEV sales must be covered by purchasing allowances from other manufacturers.

The number of these allowances will be limited and that limit will decrease each year. The sting is that if manufacturers cannot meet their target – even with the maximum permitted allowances – they will be punished to the tune of £15,000 per non-ZEV car sold. 

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes, said: ‘While the proposals rightly reflect the sector’s diversity, late publication and lack of regulatory certainty make product planning near impossible, and the continued lack of clarity as to what technologies will be permitted beyond 2030 undermines attempts to secure investment.

Ultimately, for this mandate to be successful, infrastructure providers must now turn promises into investment and catch up with the commitments of vehicle manufacturers.

The UK new car and van market is already moving at pace towards electrification, the result of massive investment by manufacturers and increased consumer demand. If the UK is to lead the global race to zero emission mobility, however, it must go further and faster in unlocking infrastructure investment, incentivising EV ownership and helping ensure more of these vehicles are developed and built in Britain.’



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