Industry calls for ZEV mandate legislation to be brought forward

A number of industry partners including Ford, Octopus, Pod Point and Britishvolt have urged the Government to bring forward legislation to ensure the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate is operational from 2024.

Against the backdrop of COP27, a variety of companies and organisations have penned a letter to Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport; and Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – to ask that they continue to demonstrate climate leadership in the decarbonisation of road transport.

They say that banning new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2035 puts the UK on track to be one of the leading G7 nations to transition to electric vehicles.

The partners see an impressive level of electric vehicle (EV) growth that puts the UK within sight of the 22% floor for 2024 (ZEV share of sales per manufacturer) set out in the mandate consultation. They want legislation to be brought forward to “provide a clear and dependable signal to infrastructure providers on EV supply, de-risking charge point investment decisions, and building consumer confidence.”

The letter states: “As COP27 has begun and world leaders look again at the actions and commitments they can pursue towards net zero, we ask that the UK government continues to demonstrate climate leadership in the decarbonisation of road transport.

“The decision to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2035 puts the UK on track to be one of the leading G7 country to transition to electric vehicles. What matters now are the policy levers and enablers to support manufacturers and customers in making that switch. An ambitious Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate would guarantee a minimum proportion of electric vehicles on the road from 2024 and provide a clear signal and trajectory to infrastructure investors to accelerate the charge-point roll-out.

“We understand that the design and ambition of mandate is still being discussed within government and a consultation response is due imminently. We urge the government to move quickly and bring forward legislation to ensure the mandate is operational from 2024, as originally intended.

“The benefits of the UK Government’s leadership on this issue are already visible. High-profile investments to support the EV transition in the UK have created and safeguarded thousands of jobs, with the prospect of many more to come. The Government’s own assessment estimated that 40,000 extra jobs will be created by the EV transition. From research and vehicle design, to chargers and software; to energy services and the vital ongoing task of installing, supporting and maintaining the vehicles and networks: every corner of the UK has the opportunity to benefit from the transition.”

The letter continues: “This signal is crucial to help accelerate the weekly installation rate of new public charging infrastructure. Front-loading the chargepoint roll-out is essential to boost consumer confidence, especially where customers do not have access to home or work charging infrastructure. As manufacturers bring more EV models to market and sales continue to climb, any risk of oversupply of chargepoints becomes negligible.

“Given the success of the UK government’s approach in driving take-up of electric vehicles thus far, we would encourage ministers to protect the current ZEV mandate trajectory by limiting the flexibilities allowed under a ZEV mandate, to avoid watering down the impact of the investment signal. Allowing manufacturers to “borrow” extensively against future deliveries of electric vehicles, thereby dampening delivery in the early years of the mandate, will weaken the targets and planned CO2 reductions and slow infrastructure roll-out due to the lower number of EVs being brought to market. Such an approach would forfeit the hard-won gains that the UK has made by moving further and faster than the EU on this issue. We would welcome the chance to discuss with you the ZEV mandate and the government’s overall approach to road transport decarbonisation at your earliest convenience.”

Talking to T+E, editorial board member and Director of Communications at Britishvolt, Ben Kilbey said: “Initiatives like this underscore the vital importance for industrywide collaboration in the race to zero. With COP27 in full force in Egypt, the world is watching what steps global leaders will take to ensure a success energy transition and resulting clean air/sustainable future for all. Industry and Governments must unite to deliver a successful net zero mandate, one that is tangible and deliverable and reaps success for all humankind.”

Full list of letter signatories: ChargePoint; Ford;; Mer; PodPoint; EO Charging; Osprey; Octopus Electric Vehicles; Britishvolt; FairCharge; NewAutomotive; EVA England, National Grid.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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