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Electric car mandate is key to building on historic year, report finds

Electric vehicles enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2022 but the government must enforce a zero emissions vehicle mandate to maintain momentum.

A report from New AutoMotive entitled ‘The State of the Switch 2022’ reviewed progress of the UK’s transition to electrified transport over 2022 and charted its future path.

The number of EVs grew rapidly and claimed an-ever increasing share of the new car market. The data shows that 2023 will be crucial to deciding the rate of future progress towards the government’s 2030 goal.

Despite the exponential growth of EVs, more than four in five of all new car registrations in 2022 were petrol or diesel vehicles – which will be polluting British roads for years to come.

There was strong growth in the popularity of electric vans. They grew their market share to just over 6% in 2022 (up from 4% in 2021) but still represent a fledgling segment of the new van market.

The report found it was essential the government continues to support the switch to electric through ambitious public policy.

An effective ZEV mandate which drives new EV sales – rather than simply a backstop – is crucial. The details of the mandate are being finalised this year and should be introduced in early 2024.

Ben Nelmes, CEO at New AutoMotive, said: “2022 was a historic year for the transition to greener, cleaner transport in the UK. Electric cars provided the only growth in sales in the UK car market, as more and more motorists made the switch to access the running-cost savings EVs offer.”

“The final consultations for the UK’s Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate are due to take place imminently. These discussions are of critical importance, as the final form of the mandate will be crucial to delivering a timely and equitable transition to electric vehicles that benefits all motorists, as well as UK business.”

“The UK government must not delay the implementation of the mandate or water down targets – doing so will only delay motorists’ access to the running cost savings that come from switching to an electric car. An ambitious mandate would ensure the supply of EVs – both vans and cars – to the UK, reducing waiting times and reducing upfront costs, and thus driving the country’s EV transition to new heights.”

“Any watering down of targets would simply reward manufacturers that are failing to electrify, and slow down the pace of the transition. In 2023, the government must drive forward and capitalise on the significant momentum the transition has built up. Neither complacency nor vested interests can not be allowed to slow down the journey to electrified transport.”