23 Feb 2024

Powering up: Government unveils ZEV mandate

With EV expansion dependent on electricity generation being increased and more charging infrastructure, plans to expand power production and boost green industry were announced by the government at the end of March, along with a consultation that will look at how to make the 2030 deadline to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles a reality.
Commenting on the Powering Up Britain policy paper Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Access to cheap, abundant and reliable energy provide the foundation stone of a thriving economy with our homes and businesses relying on it to deliver our future prosperity. Following our unprecedented cost of living support this Winter, which continues, this plan now sets out how we fix this problem in the long term to deliver wholesale UK electricity prices that rank amongst the cheapest in Europe, as we export our green growth expertise to the world.”

As part of its plan to make possible the phasing out of internal combustion engine vehicles, the government has opened a consultation on its Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate, which will see vehicle manufacturers required to sell a particular proportion of EVs up to 2030.

Transition
Commenting on the consultation, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “Automotive is on track to deliver zero emission motoring, so we welcome this long-awaited consultation on a watershed regulation for the UK new car and van market. We want regulation that gives consumers choice and affordability, and enables manufacturers to transition sustainably and competitively. 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.

“Measures to improve the customer charging experience are a step in the right direction, but the fact that contactless credit or debit card payments will not be available on the vast majority of public chargers is a major failing that will significantly disadvantage EV drivers. It is also disappointing that, unlike in other countries, there is no commensurate regulation to drive investment into the public network given that paucity of chargepoints remains the biggest barrier to buying an electric vehicle. Ultimately, for this mandate to be successful, infrastructure providers must now turn promises into investment and catch up with the commitments of vehicle manufacturers.”

He added: “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.”

NFDA Chief Executive Sue Robinson said: “We are pleased that government has answered our calls to provide further clarity on how it plans to reach its Net-Zero targets and the ban of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, and support the transition to electric vehicles. Whilst it is positive to see government addressing key issues towards adoption, NFDA is concerned that more still needs to be done to achieve these ambitious net-zero targets, especially through further stimulating consumer demand in EVs. On the government’s commitment to invest £380.8m into charging infrastructure, Sue said: “An efficient charging infrastructure is crucial towards boosting consumer confidence and driving transport decarbonisation. NFDA will be engaging with the relevant government departments to encourage a structured approach towards improving the UK charging network”.   

Commenting on the consultation, she noted: “With growing interest and demand from motorists for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) it is encouraging to see more focus rightly shifting towards supply, ensuring more products are entering the UK market with a ZEV mandate. “

Challenge
Andy Marchant, Traffic Expert at TomTom, said: “The government has a roadmap to achieve its goal of ending the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2030. Incentive and funding seem to help more and more people switch to electric vehicles, with over 22.6% of new registrations of electric vehicles. The challenge to accelerate EV adoption is both to put in place the infrastructure enabling optimal use of charging points, and to educate drivers to trust the technology to overcome the range anxiety with EV: integrated EV navigation systems offer connected services on the best route based on itinerary and charging stations availability, to give drivers the best possible experience.

“In addition to improved EV incentives, technology and infrastructure, smarter transport solutions are urgently needed to reduce traffic congestion in the UK. UK drivers spent 2% more time in main cities’ traffic jams last year compared to 2021. It’s clear that the sheer volume of slow-moving traffic, coupled with the UK’s antiquated road infrastructure, continues to have a significant impact on transport emissions.”

Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles, added: “The wheels for the EV revolution are firmly in motion. The ZEV mandate will set the roadmap towards 2030 zero emissions transport – cutting harmful emissions for both people and the planet. The industry needs clarity and decisive action to place the UK EV market in pole position. We need to end our reliance on imported fossil fuels as we transition to zero emission vehicles powered by homegrown green energy. The devil will be in the detail, and this is our chance to further drive down costs and encourage new models to enter the market, giving drivers access to cheaper, greener, tech on wheels transport.”

To read the government’s policy paper, visit: www.gov.uk/government/publications/powering-up-britain