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‘ZEV Mandate’ electric car sales targets become law

22 per cent of all new cars sold must be electric from today, rising to 80 per cent by 2030

Mercedes EQE SUV - front

New laws come into force today (3 Jan 2024), enacting what the government claims is the world’s most ambitious regulatory framework for the transition to electric vehicles - otherwise known as the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate.

While critics have lined up to condemn the government’s decision to delay the ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035, the government says analysis by the Climate Change Committee shows Rishi Sunak’s more pragmatic approach will make no material difference to national progress on cutting emissions.

However, as well as bringing the UK into line with nearby EU nations and Canada, the Department for Transport says the longer timescale allows more freedom for consumers to make choices, and gives more time for ‘levelling up’ the national charging infrastructure.

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The ZEV mandate stipulates that manufacturers must sell increasing numbers of electric or zero-emissions vehicles as a percentage of their overall sales total. It kicks off this year with a target of 22 per cent for cars and 10 per cent for vans, rising to 100 per cent by 2035.

Annual ZEV Mandate targets to 2030

YearProportion of car sales to be zero-emissionsProportion of van sales to be zero-emissions
202422%10%
202528%16%
202633%24%
202738%34%
202852%46%
202966%58%
203080%70%

To mark the new law’s implementation, Technology and Decarbonisation minister Anthony Browne will be visiting a new BP Pulse charging hub in London.

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“Alongside us having spent more than £2bn 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,” he said.

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

Although the government says the new law will help households make the switch to electric, support growth of the second-hand EV market and encourage more charging, it has so far failed to respond to industry calls for incentives to further stimulate new EV sales.

Currently, government incentives are focused heavily on generous personal tax benefits for electric company car users, plug-in grants for vans, and £350 towards the cost of charge points for people living in flats.

Speaking in advance of the minister’s visit, BP Pulse UK vice president Akira Kirton said: “This mandate instils 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.”

Click here for our list of the best electric cars on sale right now...

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Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

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