In November 2020, the Government announced a plan to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, moving up the previous timetable by five years and setting a clear ambition to be a world leader in the transition to cleaner transport. To achieve its goal means zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) — especially battery electric vehicles (BEVs) — must account for nearly half of new car sales by 2025, according to the Climate Change Committee (CCC). So far this year, just eight per cent of new cars sold are ZEVs. That means urgent action is necessary to rapidly increase EV sales today.
In order for the UK Government to meet its 2030 phaseout targets on its way to a goal of 100% zero-emissions vehicles by 2035, a ZEV mandate for vehicle manufacturers is imperative, which is what the UK government announced in October, as part of their Net Zero Strategy. Without a ZEV mandate, the pace of EV adoption up to 2030 will be uneven and uncertain – at the mercy of vehicle manufacturers’ commercial preferences and the pressures of global supply chains. A ZEV mandate ensures a steady rate of EV adoption to 2030 and allows other sectors which support EVs – charging and technology for example – to plan and scale their operations.
The solution is clear though — one that’s been tested and proven to work. A ZEV mandate, based on a model adopted in California, has been implemented in nine U.S. states and two Canadian states. Governments set a requirement for vehicle manufacturers to sell a certain percentage of ZEVs each year. In return, automakers receive credits for ZEVs sold. In some states, when a carmaker reaches its allotment of ZEV credits in a particular year, it may “bank” them for the future or trade or sell them to other manufacturers. When structured well, this mechanism incentivises the industry to do the right thing now — something it would otherwise be forced to do later.
Currently, the Government has promised the introduction of a ZEV Mandate by 2024. At ChargePoint, we welcome this vital guarantee of how many EVs will enter the UK market – which in turn will reinforce investor confidence in our fast-growing charging sector. However, 2024 is too long for many small businesses in the charging sector to wait for that vote of confidence. They need a clear indication of how many EVs will enter the UK market and when, so they can plan and scale their networks, and attract investment to do so. But perhaps the best reason to conclude consultation and enact a ZEV mandate as quickly as possible, however, is because the cost of inaction is one that both people and the planet can no longer endure. Making it a move in the right direction from the UK Government.