The UK Government’s ZEV mandate has now come into force.

As previously announced, the mandate introduces targets for zero-emission vehicle sales each year by van and car manufacturers, increasing each year until 2030, with non-compliance potentially incurring fines.

For vans, the targets start at 10% of each manufacturer’s sales in 2024, and rise to 16% in 2025, 24% in 2026, 34% in 2027, 46% in 2028, 58% in 2029, and 70% in 2030.

For cars, the targets start at 22% in 2024, and rise to 28% in 2025, 33% in 2026, 38% in 2027, 52% in 2028, 66% in 2029, and 80% in 2030.

Compliance will not be assessed by directly monitoring vehicle sales. Instead, manufacturers will receive ‘allowances’, permitting them to sell up to certain number of non-ZEVs per year (the inverse of the ZEV target), spending an allowance for every non-ZEV they sell. These allowances are tradeable, so manufacturers which sell more ZEVs than required will be able to sell allowances to manufacturers which do not meet the targets.

Between 2024 and 2026, manufacturers which fall behind will also be allowed to ‘catch up’ in later years, and less strenuous measures are in place for manufacturers selling fewer than 2,500 vehicles per year.

The ZEV percentages will have to reach 100% by 2035, when the government’s ban on new petrol and diesel car and van sales is scheduled to come into force.

Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne said: “Alongside us having spent more than £2bn in the transition to electric vehicles, our zero-emission vehicle mandate will further boost the economy and support manufacturers to safeguard skilled British jobs in the automotive industry.

“We are providing investment certainty for the charging sector to expand our charging network which has already grown by 44% since this time last year. This will support the constantly growing number of EVs in the UK, which currently account for over 16% of the new UK car market.”

Reacting to the implementation of the mandate, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The industry is investing billions in decarbonisation and recognises the importance of the ZEV mandate in delivering net zero. 

“The regulation means the UK retains the most ambitious timeline of any major market yet without private consumer incentives – and while manufacturers offer a vast range of zero emission vehicles, demand must match supply. 

“Delivering a buoyant EV market means giving all consumers the confidence to invest, which requires an attractive package of fiscal incentives, mandated infrastructure targets and a consistent message that encourages drivers to switch now.”