UK Government Revises Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate

Written on the 16th October, 2023

Following the UK Prime Minister’s delay in banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans until 2035, the UK Government has revised its Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate. The ZEV Mandate stipulates the number of new Zero Emission Vehicles that must be sold as a percentage of overall new car and van sales. The Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate is a government policy that requires car and van manufacturers to sell a certain percentage of electric vehicles each year. Its goal is to reduce the number of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars on the road in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from transport and help fight climate change.

It was expected that the Mandate would give figures for every year until the banning of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.  However, the UK Government has only give three figures.  In 2024,  22% of new cars, and 10% of new vans sold in 2024 should be electric vehicles.  This was the figure originally proposed and it remains in place.

The next figure given by the UK Government is for 2030 and the revised figure for cars is 80% of all new cars should be ZEV.

The Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate requires car manufacturers to sell a certain percentage of electric vehicles each year. Its goal is to reduce the number of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars on the road in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from transport.

The ZEV Mandate has been introduced in a number of countries including China and some member States of the European Union.  Its introduction in the United States of America is a state responsibility and Mandates have been introduced into a number of States including California.

The ZEV Mandate is based around the following measures:

  • The percentage of ZEVs sold each year will increase until 100% ZEV cars and vans are sold in 2035.
  • Car manufacturers will have ZEV sales converted into certificates and be required to hold a certain number of certificates at the end of each year.
  • Manufacturers who fail to hit their target will either have to ‘trade certificates’ with other manufacturers or will be fined around £15,000 per vehicle.

The UK Government’s intention was to gain the approval of Parliament for the ZEV Mandate.  There were some concerns that this vote could be problematic and this could be one of the reasons for the delay.  There was much consternation in the motor industry about the delay in the banning of petrol and diesel cars and some manufacturers such as Nissan have decided to press ahead with the sale of electric cars only in Europe by 2030.

The UK Mandate will become law in 2024 and Mike Hawes, the Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, welcomed the clarity but noted that it was only 100 days before the Mandate came into force.

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