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EV target will make UK world beater says minister

The UK government has said it wants 80% of the new vehicles sold in the country in 20230 to be zero emission.

It set out the percentage of new zero emission cars manufacturers will be required to produce each year up to 2030, following prime minister Rishi Sunak’s decision to delay the ban on new diesel and petrol cars from 2030 to 2035.

In a statement it said the path will support manufacturers and families in making the switch to electric, providing flexibility while also helping grow the economy.

According to a government spokesman the zero emission vehicle mandate means the country will have the most ambitious regulatory framework for the switch to electric vehicles (EVs) in the world. It requires 80% of new cars and 70% of new vans sold in Great Britain to be zero emission by 2030, increasing to 100% by 2035. The 2035 end of sale date puts the UK in line with other major global economies, including France, Germany, Sweden and Canada.

“The move provides certainty for manufacturers and will help families make the switch to electric, by providing more time for the second-hand EV market to grow and charging to roll out more widely across the country,” the spokesman added. “The plans provide investors with confidence to invest in charging infrastructure, with 43% more public chargepoints this year than last, putting the country well on track for the Government’s target of 300,000 charge points by 2030.”

The mandate sets minimum annual targets, starting with a requirement for 22% of new cars sold in 2024 to be zero emission, as originally proposed. This will rise each year up to 100% by 2035, although some manufacturers already plan to reach 100% sooner. The UK’s ambition has already triggered investments in giga-factories and EV manufacturing, with over £6 billion in private sector chargepoint funding also ready to be released.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “The path to zero emission vehicles announced today makes sure the route to get there is proportionate, pragmatic, and realistic for families.

“Our mandate provides certainty for manufacturers, benefits drivers by providing more options, and helps grow the economy by creating skilled jobs.

“We are also making it easier than ever to own an electric vehicle, from reaching record levels of chargepoints to providing tax relief for EV owners.

AA CEO, Jakob Pfaudler said: “Our customers want to see both Government action and realism in the move to electric vehicles as part of an ambitious drive to net zero. This means having certainty and a combination of the right information, infrastructure, and incentives available to them.

“This announcement brings welcome clarity to help support investment in ZEVs and associated technologies and industries. Over time, and as part of a wider set of policies, it will help the UK’s motorists manage the transition and the AA will be working to give confidence to drivers during this period.”

The government added recent investment by major manufacturers has shown the UK is a world-leading country for the automotive sector. BMW has announced its intention to invest over £6bn in its UK factories, including a multi-million-pound investment to transform their Oxford plant, securing 4,000 high-quality jobs and strengthening the electric vehicle supply chain. This followed other major investments, including £4 billion from Tata to build a new gigafactory in the UK, and £1 billion from Nissan and AESC to create an EV manufacturing hub in Sunderland.

Mike Hawes, CEO of The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT): “The automotive industry is investing billions in decarbonisation and recognises the importance of the zero emission vehicle mandate as the single most important measure to deliver net zero.

“We welcome the clarity the mandate’s publication provides for the next six years and the flexibilities it contains to support pragmatic, equitable delivery across this diverse sector. Manufacturers offer a vast range of zero emission vehicles, but demand must also match supply – that means making ZEVs affordable by incentivising drivers to make the switch now and delivering the infrastructure to meet consumer expectations.”