Mapping the road to zero-emission vehicles

Catherine Bowen, senior policy advisor at BVRLA, pores over the Government’s latest Strategy for phasing out ICE cars and vans

Under the UK government’s Net Zero Strategy, transport is an industry very much under the spotlight. Specifically, it is an industry that can make a substantial contribution towards the targets being met, with positive changes being easily visible in everyday life. When the Net Zero Strategy was announced last October, a key commitment for transport was that the Government would introduce a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate, pushing manufacturers to sell a greater proportion of ZEVs from 2024.

The UK is now on track to introduce a scheme similar to that in California, whereby the Government sets an annual target for manufacturers to reach, dictated by the percentage of their sales being made up of zero-emission vehicles. Starting in the UK in 2024, the percentage target a manufacturer must meet then increases at regular intervals before we get to 100% of new car sales being for ZEVs by 2035.

A key element of the consultation, launched by the Department for Transport in April, is that vans and cars will have different trajectories. While both have been set the same end date of 100% by 2035, the trajectory for vans will start slower and accelerate more steeply as the deadline approaches. This element was critical in the BVRLA’s campaigning on the topic and we welcome that the DfT has acknowledged the varying transition timelines for different vehicle types.

The consultation also acknowledges that not all vehicles are created equal. Use cases, technology and price all vary greatly, so a certificate system – equivalent to the credits system adopted elsewhere – is being developed that will address those fluctuations. It remains to be seen how those certificates will be administered, but it is possible that they will be awarded to vehicles based on their price, size, range and power efficiency, as well as being based on certain use cases. For example, certificates could be awarded to vehicles with shared use, such as for car clubs, or if they are providing Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

The decisions that are made there will have a fundamental impact on how the ZEV mandate is received and will influence how manufacturers will manage their vehicle line-up.

It is therefore vital that the fleet sector continues to engage in the topic – and that is why the BVRLA will continue to have an active voice in conversations relating to the mandate. The Government has already listened to us on the requirement to treat cars and vans differently, so it is important we keep that momentum going.

The ongoing consultation gives us the opportunity to shape the design of the mandate to ensure appropriate safeguards are built in, protecting the interests of BVRLA members and others across the sector.

Catherine Bowen, senior policy advisor, BVRLA


Matching types of provision to emerging gaps in infrastructure: Building and development regulations are increasing the obligation for more charge points to be installed already, but more consideration needs to be given to ensure those installations are fit for purpose and benefit the biggest number of potential use cases.


Building trust in the reliability of infrastructure: Vehicle or employee downtime due to charging has the potential to have a detrimental impact on productivity and customer service. Drivers need to know that they can trust the network to meet their needs and for charge points to be reliable to ensure continuity of service and effective planning.


Ensuring consistent ease of access: Many current solutions offer different payment methods, restrict access, or do not cater to users with reduced mobility or disabilities. Access needs to be widespread and payments simple for fleets to effectively manage operations and support drivers.


Creating a future framework for decisions based on user need: This considers the ongoing role local authorities will be required to play, in conjunction with national government and private providers. Open collaboration between these parties will mean that long-term solutions can be developed in a way that benefit all road users.

We were proud to launch this report at the BVRLA’s Fleets in Charge webinar on Wednesday 16 February, ‘Untangling the Charging Conundrum’. The key findings were shared with delegates and the full report was made available afterwards.

The BVRLA is now working closely with government at a local and national level to use the report and its recommendations as part of open, collaborative discussions that will seek greater consideration being given to fleets across the UK.

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