Fleets could face substantial operational issues from the UK Government’s new ZEV mandate, with van fleets particularly affected, according to software firm Fleetcheck.

The ZEV mandate will require a rising share of manufacturers’ new vans and cars to have zero tailpipe emissions.

The 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.

Fleetcheck managing director Peter Golding said: “The underlying issue with the ZEV mandate is that it puts supply before demand at a time when vehicle production remains highly erratic and the rate of adoption of electric cars and vans is volatile.

“The government is proposing to effectively force fleets to adapt their operations according to the speed at which they think electrification should be happening. This will not necessarily fit with the strategies that fleets have already created for the adoption of EVs over the next few years and will force many into re-evaluating their plans.

“The fact is that many fleets have substantial operational issues to overcome on the road to electrification, especially when it comes to vans, and artificially limiting supply of ICE vehicles while pushing EV production higher won’t do anything to solve these.”

Golding said that the ease with which the mandate was able to be applied to vans and cars was likely to be quite different.

He said: “Meeting car targets is almost certainly not a problem. Fleets alone could probably account for 22% of all electric car sales next year without retail buyers. However, vans remain an issue. 

“The jury is out when it comes to whether demand means one in 10 van sales is electric in 2024. We could easily tip into electric van oversupply.”

Golding said the government needed to step up its incentives and infrastructure investment when it came to EVs in order to ensure supply and demand mismatches were avoided.

He said: “Significant efforts will be needed to persuade fleets into electric vans at the kind of pace that is being envisaged. That means not just further upfront grants and other measures in both the new and used sector but massive resources being put into kerbside charging, which is essentially non-existent in large areas of the country at the moment. 

“Some more money has been made available but there is a general sense that charging remains a very real problem.

“Of course, the ZEV mandate is out for consultation and could well be changed but, as it stands, it presents fleets with many more questions than answers.”