The UK Government must retain its plug-in van grant to support the introduction of rules requiring a certain percentage of manufacturers’ new LCVs to be electric, according to Ford.

The company is one of two leading players in the UK LCV market, alongside Stellantis, to have responded to the government’s latest announcement on zero-emission vehicle regulations, which includes stronger targets for vans than initially proposed.

The government has published a final consultation on its Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate, requiring a rising share of manufacturers’ vans and cars to be ZEVs annually.

Under this, the ZEV mandate for vans will begin at 10% in 2024, and rise to 70% by 2030 – and subsequently 100% by 2035 under future legislation. This represents an increase from previously announced proposals, which started at 8% in 2024, and rose to 52% in 2030.

The proposed mandate for cars will begin with 22% of sales being ZEVs in 2024, rising gradually to 80% in 2030 – and also subsequently to 100% in 2035.

The government also announced the launch of its £381million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure fund, alongside an additional £15million for the On-Street Residential Charging Scheme.

Ford of Britain chair Tim Slatter said: “Ford is on an accelerated path to an all-electric vehicle portfolio and carbon neutrality by 2035, and fully supports the government’s ambition for a zero-emission future. The ZEV mandate is a crucial piece of the electrification puzzle that provides a vital indicator of charging infrastructure needs in the coming years. 

“We know from our customers that the biggest barrier to uptake of electric vehicles remains the availability and ease of charging. The ZEV mandate gives a clear direction and should provide the confidence for infrastructure investors to commit and enable the future for electric vehicles on UK roads. 

“With new, higher targets for van customers, it is crucial that the government’s plug-in van grant is retained in early years to support businesses making the switch.”

Stellantis UK senior vice president and group managing director Paul Willcox said: “Stellantis is fully committed to achieve 100% electric new car and van sales in the UK and Europe by 2030.  This is true across all of our brands including Vauxhall, Peugeot, Fiat and Citroen, so we fully support the UK Government’s ambitions.  Furthermore, ahead of the competition, as outlined in our Dare Forward 2030 plan, we will be carbon net zero by 2038.

“However, we now urgently need to have certainty and regulatory clarity on the pathway that the government will set, strong support for the industry in making the necessary investments in the manufacture of electric vehicles in the UK and action to develop our battery manufacturing capacity.

“On charging, we welcome the clarity brought however, it is disappointing that there is not a clearer requirement to provide a minimum charging capacity per low-emission vehicle or to ensure a minimum density of fast chargers on our major road transport routes in order to further increase consumer confidence.”