Carmakers to ration petrol and diesel car sales until 2030 ban

Electric MG car - ZarkePix / Alamy Stock Photo
Electric MG car - ZarkePix / Alamy Stock Photo

Car manufacturers will be forced to ration the number of petrol and diesel cars it sells from next year until 2030 when these sales will face an outright ban.

The Government’s Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate (ZEV) will put yearly restrictions on car manufacturers on the proportion of petrol cars they can sell, in a bid to drive up electric vehicle use and hit net zero targets.

With the need for an increased proportion of electric car sales, this will inevitably lead to the production of fewer petrol and diesel cars as manufacturers switch focus.

The much-anticipated ZEV mandate, which is now being consulted on, will require manufacturers to ensure 22 per cent of all new cars sold are electric by the start of next year, with this growing to 80 per cent in 2030.

Carmakers who do not hit their targets, will face fines of £15,000 per car under the target.

However, the restrictions have been slightly watered down from initial calls for hard targets, with manufacturers securing some flexibilities around numbers in the first years of the scheme.

'Vital legislation'

The confirmation of the mandate has been welcomed by many, who have called the move “world leading”. James Court, chief executive of EVA England, said: “This is vital legislation that gives certainty to car manufacturers, chargepoint operators, and most crucially to drivers.”

However, some have questioned if the Government could go further.

Colin Walker, transport analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “The targets broadly track what EV sales are expected to do anyway.

“If the Government were to increase those targets that would further speed the growth of the second-hand EV market.”

Under the current targets, more than half of cars sold will need to be electric by 2028. After 2030, that will rise to 80 per cent, with hybrid vehicles the only non-fully electric cars that can be sold after that point.

The new mandate will apply to all car manufacturers operating in the UK, apart from manufacturers which produce under 2,500 cars.

Hard yearly targets

There had been initial hopes from some electric vehicles groups that the mandate would have hard yearly targets but manufacturers have been able to secure some concessions.

Up until 2027, manufacturers will be able to secure “Zev allowances” in which under delivery in one year can be made up for in future years. Equally, if they hit their targets they can bank unused allowances for future years up until 2030.

If companies miss targets, they would be charged £15,000 per non-ZEV car.

Carmakers will also be able to decide if they want to be measured under the mandate target as individual manufacturers, or a group.

For example, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Škoda, could all be registered and measured as the Volkswagen Group.

Targets for vans

Alongside the requirements on domestic vehicles, there will also be targets for vans with 10 per cent of vans expected to be electric by next year and 70 per cent in 2030. Van manufacturers that miss targets, will be hit with £18,000 fines per vehicle.

A cost benefit analysis of this option carried out by the DfT estimated that the current proposals would save households around £145 billion over the next 50 years, with more than £20 billion savings on fuel costs and £15 billion on maintenance costs.

The confirmation of the ZEV mandate was one of a number of transport related policies announced as part of the Government’s “Green Day” energy security plan.

Mark Harper, the transport secretary, also revealed that the Government would be setting aside £381 million to support the installation of new electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country.

He also confirmed a consultation to introduce a mandate for the use of greener sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) by airlines.

Mr Harper said: “From expanding our charging network to boosting the production of cleaner aviation fuel, today’s announcement is a great stride forwards - offering people more choice on how to stay connected while delivering the carbon reductions needed to achieve net zero.”