The UK Government’s proposed Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate is a chance for the UK to reinforce its position as a climate leader via a world-leading piece of legislation. Although the annual targets, particularly in the early years, need significantly more ambition (current proposed targets are ‘only’ in-line with the SMMT’s central scenario for ZEV uptake, whereas actual sales so far this decade match the SMMT’s high ZEV uptake scenario) the overarching ambition of implementing a ZEV mandate and achieving 100% ZEV sales by 2035 is laudable.
Much of the car industry accepts and is supportive of the Government’s decision to move towards this target, with many manufacturers already committing to end production of internal combustion engine vehicles by or before the end of this decade. However, it has been claimed that ambitious targets would have a major impact on UK vehicle manufacturing jobs. This suggests two things: 1) that a large proportion of the vehicles made in the UK are sold in the UK, and 2) that UK manufacturers are not transitioning to producing ZEVs. Neither are true.
In fact, 80% of vehicles made in the UK are exported: the vast majority of vehicles produced here will be unaffected by the regulation. Furthermore, so far in 2022 just under 10% of cars produced were ZEVs, up from 5% in 2020 and 3% in 2019.