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Annual EV sales targets leading up to ICE ban proposed

Date: 08 April 2022   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Plans for mandatory minimum levels of zero-emission car sales each year between 2024 and 2035 have been announced by the UK Government.

The Department for Transport has launched a consultation on its Zero-Emission Vehicle Mandate policy.

As previously announced, the government plans to outlaw new pure petrol and diesel car sales by 2030, with some hybrid car sales continuing until 2035.

Under the newly-published proposal, a certain proportion of zero-emission new car sales for manufacturers to meet would be legally mandated from two years' time, and this would increase annually.

In its consultation document, the Department for Transport states these should be at least as ambitious as targets set out in its Transport Decarbonisation Plan and Net Zero Strategy, starting at 22% in 2024 and increasing in each year subsequently, including reaching 52% in 2028, and 80% in 2030.

It says yearly targets would provide certainty to the sector, including vehicle manufacturers, energy providers, and charge point operators. However, it says the right would be reserved to change the targets based on market conditions, providing that reasonable notice was given and industry consultation carried out.

Separate targets for vans have also been proposed.

Reacting to the proposals, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) chief executive Mike Hawes said: "The automotive sector continues to invest billions in a wide and growing range of zero emission vehicles, vehicles which are already becoming commonplace on Britain's roads. To accelerate the pace of take up and deliver the carbon savings Net Zero demands, however, regulation must encourage consumers to purchase, not just compel manufacturers to produce.

"Any mandate must be pragmatic, flexible and reflective of every manufacturer's long-term commitment. It must also avoid being so complex and prescriptive that it becomes a straitjacket for the market and UK manufacturing investment. 

"The danger is that consumers will lack the incentive to purchase these new vehicles - vehicles that will remain more expensive than traditional petrol and diesel cars for a number of years to come - in the quantities needed, keeping their older, more polluting vehicles for even longer thereby undermining the carbon savings this regulation seeks to deliver. 

"Market transformation is proven to work fastest when mandates are matched with incentives and, for automotive electrification, we also need commensurate and binding targets for infrastructure provision."

BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: "The ZEV sales mandate is a vital part of the UK being able to reach its Net Zero targets. Its effective implementation will be the difference between the UK leading the way for decarbonisation or falling behind the rest of Europe. "The consultative approach taken by the Department for Transport has been commendable and the BVRLA is pleased to see many of the association's key considerations included within the plans. 

"In the face of the worst supply crisis the industry has seen for generations, trajectories need careful consideration and must be kept under review as the supply chain stabilises."

Part of the government's proposal is that the scheme will be governed through manufacturers being awarded ZEV certificates for compliant vehicle sales, and that there would be some flexibility with this, so for instance more than one certificate could be awarded for a particularly efficient car, or for those used as car club vehicles.

Commenting on this element, Keaney added: "The use of ZEV certificates, incentivising certain types of vehicles and different usage, is a crucial part of the delivery. Indeed, they will be a critical tool in alleviating the current supply issues and can ensure the flow of vehicles to channels such as rental and car clubs. 

"The BVRLA will continue to work with the Department for Transport to ensure those certificates are apportioned in a fair way and give due consideration to the distinct needs of fleets."