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Date: January 18, 2024
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By Javiera Altamirano
United Kingdom
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Eva England on the goals of the ZEV mandate: “Some companies will achieve it, but others will face fines”

The CEO of EVA England explains that some manufacturers will not be able to meet the ZEV mandate goal of having 100% of their cars electric by 2035. However, companies like Volkswagen and Ford will not encounter issues when making the transition.
ZEV mandate electric vehicle companies UK

In September 2023, the government introduced the ZEV mandate, setting the percentage of new cars with zero emissions that manufacturers must produce each year until 2035.

While the goal is to assist automakers in transitioning to electromobility, there is no certainty that all will be able to meet the set objectives.

“Some companies will definitely do it, but others may lag behind and face fines. Toyota is the most obvious example because it is not ready for a global expansion with electric vehicles,” explains James Court, Chief Executive Officer at EVA England, in a conversation with Mobility Portal Europe.

James Court, Chief Executive Officer at EVA England.

“They will likely receive fines. That’s the commercial risk of not supporting a technology when it should have been done,” he adds.

However, Court emphasizes that other companies like Volkswagen and Ford have followed the transition rules “quite early” and therefore “have an advantage.”

“For them, there will be no particular problem in achieving the goals,” acknowledges the CEO.

In fact, some manufacturers plan to have 100 percent electric cars by 2035.

It’s worth mentioning that the ZEV mandate requires 80 percent of new cars and 70 percent of new vans sold in the region to be zero-emission by 2030, increasing to 100 percent by 2035.

The 2035 sales completion date aligns the UK with other major global economies such as France, Germany, Sweden, and Canada.

Overall, Court explains that the set goals are achievable because the annual increases are quite gradual.

The ZEV mandate sets minimum annual targets, starting with the requirement that 22 percent of new cars sold in 2024 have zero emissions, although by 2023, this had already reached 17 percent.

“It will become easier as the years go by, as companies are offering more electric vehicle models. I don’t think there will be any issues from a supply perspective,” indicates the CEO.

How to encourage the adoption of BEVs for individual users?

In December, the adoption of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) reached a record volume with almost 50,000 units, totaling 314,687 new registrations during 2023.

In fact, more BEVs were put on the road last year than in 2020 and 2021 combined, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

For 2024, market outlooks predict that this year will see 1.97 million units, with 439,000 BEVs and a market share of 22.3%.

Overall, BEVs accounted for one in six newly registered cars in 2023, with the majority being acquired by companies and fleet buyers benefiting from tax incentives.

“Companies are being persuaded to acquire electric vehicles, offering them benefits when purchasing for their fleets,” comments Court.

He adds, “We used to have grants of up to 5,000 pounds for new cars, but they were eliminated. Support for private buyers has completely disappeared.

Since the subsidy ended in June 2022, the UK is the only major European market without incentives for consumer BEV purchases.

However, Court acknowledges that there are other actions that can be reinforced to encourage users to adopt zero-emission cars.

Furthermore, he highlights that EVA England is exploring ways to encourage lower-income individuals to adopt electric cars.

“There are various ways to do this, such as offering 0 per cent loans for second hand units, promoting social leasing, and offering affordable cars,” says the CEO of EVA England.

As an example, Court cites the social leasing model in France.

He also recognizes that there are non-financial benefits that have worked in countries like Norway, such as tax exemptions when buying a new vehicle.

He also emphasizes the role played by zero and low-emission zones.

For instance, in London, there are zones where a congestion charge is levied. However, electric cars can travel through them for free.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that industry stakeholders are urging the government to halve the Value Added Tax (VAT) on new BEVs for three years.

A 50 per cent reduction in VAT is estimated to provide consumers with an additional 7.7 billion pounds in purchasing power for BEVs by the end of 2026, encouraging an additional 270,000 car buyers to choose electric vehicles, resulting in 1.9 million new units by the end of 2026.

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