UK fleet operators call for ambitious ZEV mandate

Leading UK businesses, including BT Group, LeasePlan, Openreach and Royal Mail, have called on the government to set clear, ambitious sales targets for zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) as we approach 2030 and the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars. 

On behalf of the UK Electric Fleets Coalition, a group of 28 leading UK businesses with some of the largest fleets in the UK, Climate Group is calling for an ambitious ZEV mandate in a response to the third and final consultation on the issue.  

Climate Group is urging the government to set bolder sales targets for cars and vans to encourage supply of electric vehicles (EVs) – the most efficient ZEV available with no emissions at the tailpipe – and give confidence to leading businesses that are already investing in the technology. 

Shortage of supply is most acute in the UK’s commercial van sector, with businesses ready to invest but unable to secure the electric vehicles that meet their specifications in the quantity they need.  

Mandating that manufacturers sell more EVs, with stronger interim targets for sales in 2024 and 2027, will boost supply and help businesses go electric faster, Climate Group said. 

The UK’s ZEV mandate should also be simple, the organisation said – consistent across the Home Nations with limited flexibilities and loopholes. A UK-wide ZEV mandate makes life much easier for businesses, who have warehouses and depots all over the UK.  

Road transport still accounts for approximately a fifth of total UK emissions. The switch to zero emission needs to happen faster to meet the UK’s net zero targets, clean up our air and mitigate climate change.  

A strong, ambitious ZEV mandate will speed up EV adoption and support businesses already investing in their electric fleets to go fully electric even faster. 

Sandra Roling, Director of Transport of Climate Group: “On behalf of the UKEFC, we have responded to all consultation rounds of the UK’s planned ZEV mandate. It’s now up to the UK government to offer the support businesses and drivers need in the switch to cleaner vehicles. The demand is clearly there, and our business members have consistently called for a ZEV mandate to help drive the EV supply – it’s vital to ensure cars and in particular vans are available in the volume and variety that companies need.  

“To do this, we need more ambitious interim sales targets, so we’re urging decision makers to push the boundaries.  

“The businesses we work with – like BT Openreach, LeasePlan and Royal Mail – are committed to investing in the technology, and with a simple, UK-wide and ambitious ZEV mandate introduced in 2024, they can help transform the UK’s roads faster. The sooner the mandate comes in, the better.” 

Catherine Colloms, Managing Director of Corporate Affairs & Brand at Openreach, said: “We’re serious about our responsibilities to the planet and the communities we serve. As part of that we’ve pledged to be a net zero business and switch the bulk of our commercial van fleet to zero emissions by 2030.  

“We have the second largest commercial fleet in the UK and expect to have around 4,000 electric vans in our fleet by the end of March 2024. But like others, we continue to face shortages in the vehicle supply chain especially when it comes to range, functionality and choice – for some vehicle types there is simply no option yet. Therefore it’s imperative that Government pushes ahead with the ZEV mandate so that we can lead the world when it comes to decarbonisation.” 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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