Is the 2030 phase-out target at risk?
Toby Poston, director of corporate affairs, BVRLA contemplates what the next six and a half years holds for the automotive market
Toby Poston, director of current affairs, BVRLA
Recent negative commentary on electric vehicles has culminated with a new campaign calling for ministers to rethink the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans. It is backed by one of the biggest newspapers in the UK – and has got people talking.
The Government, however, is remaining firm and says it is sticking to its original plans, a view shared by many in the automotive sector who appreciate the certainty that it has provided to fleets and other road users.
The countdown to 2030 is on, with 76 months until the sale of new ICE vehicles will be phased out. What started out as milestone on the distant horizon is rapidly coming into focus.
The fleet sector has always led the way in adopting new technologies and bringing cleaner, greener vehicles to our roads. The phase-out deadline gives a consistent target that can be achieved through effective planning by businesses and targeted support from Government.
However, there are signs that the shift to electric vehicles has entered a sticky patch, with a recent BVRLA Industry Outlook poll showing that 59% of respondents feel the UK is behind schedule for cars. That rises to the more staggering 93% for vans and 88% for HGVs.
This year is clearly going to be a pivotal one. For the UK to make meaningful strides towards decarbonising the road transport network, robust commitments and clarity must be provided. Fleet operators and vehicle providers need the reassurance that their ongoing efforts to bring cleaner vehicles to our roads are justified and supported.
As recently as March, the Government confirmed that it would be pushing ahead with its plans to introduce a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate from January 2024. The mandate gives a staggered pathway to achieve the 2030 phase out of new ICE vehicle sales. Above everything, it provides essential clarity and certainty.
The UK’s targets are ambitious and go beyond what many other nations have announced. That ambition demonstrates the desire to accelerate the transition to zero emission transport, a transition that many thousands of drivers and fleet operators are already making.
Continuing that journey is only possible with a clear timeline. Businesses can plan effectively when goalposts are set.
“Fleet operators and vehicle providers need the reassurance that their ongoing efforts to bring cleaner vehicles to our roads are justified and supported.”
The coming months mark a critical juncture for the long-term success of our decarbonisation goals. It is more important than ever that our sector pulls in the same direction. September sees the return of the BVRLA’s Fleets in Charge Conference, which will bring together policy makers, suppliers, and innovators to explore the latest advances in vehicle technology and Net Zero challenges. All industry stakeholders are welcome.
Only by having open discussions about the challenges ahead can we provide clear input to government and shape the future of our sector.
Fleets in Charge Conference
Building on last year’s event, the 2023 conference will bring policy makers, suppliers and innovators together under one roof. Together, speakers and delegates will explore the latest advances in vehicle technology and the impact they will have on the UK’s decarbonisation journey.