22% of UK car sales have to be zero emission in 2024

At least 22% of new cars sold by manufacturers in the UK this year must be zero-emission. New rules requiring car manufacturers to sell a minimum proportion of zero-emission vehicles have come into force, the Department for Transport (DfT) in the UK announced. The mandate became law on Wednesday.

Zero emission means, in practice, that almost all of these 22%  have to be pure electric vehicles (EVs). The threshold will rise annually until it reaches 100% by 2035. There is also a threshold for van sales, starting at 10% this year.

Serious fines

Manufacturers who fail to abide by the rule or use flexibilities (such as carrying over allowances from previous years) will be required to pay the Government £ 15 000 per polluting vehicle sold above the limits.

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

The Westminster Government’s technology and decarbonization minister, Anthony Browne, visiting an EV charging hub installed by BP pulse in central London, said: “Alongside us having spent more than £2 billion in the transition to electric vehicles, our zero-emission vehicle mandate will further boost the economy and support manufacturers to safeguard skilled British jobs in the automotive industry.

“We are providing investment certainty for the charging sector to expand our charging network, which has already grown by 44% since this time last year,” he added. “This will support the constantly growing number of EVs in the UK, which currently account for over 16% of the new UK car market.”

Industry follows

Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), reacted: “The industry is investing billions in decarbonization and recognizes the importance of the zero-emission vehicles mandate in delivering net zero.”

“The regulation means the UK retains the most ambitious timeline of any major market yet without private consumer incentives. While manufacturers offer a vast range of zero-emission vehicles, demand must match supply,” he added.

“Delivering a buoyant EV market means giving all consumers the confidence to invest, which requires an attractive package of fiscal incentives, mandated infrastructure targets, and a consistent message that encourages drivers to switch now,” he concluded.

Delays

In September last year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delayed the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the UK from 2030 to 2035.

Akira Kirton, vice president of BP pulse in the UK, said: “This mandate instills confidence in our strategy, reaffirming our plans to invest £ 1 billion over 10 years to continue to develop hundreds of EV charging hubs across the country by 2030 to bolster the UK’s charging infrastructure.”

It emerged on Tuesday that a Government target for EV chargers near motorways has been missed.
The DfT set an ambition for there to be at least six rapid or ultra-rapid chargers at every motorway service area in England by the end of 2023.

Just 46 out of 119 sites ( or 39%) met the target, according to RAC analysis of data from charger locator service Zapmap. In a reaction, the DfT insisted that the number of public charge points “is surging across the country.”

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