UK government told to introduce ZEV mandate to achieve 2035 phase-out

Policy Exchange has set out how the government can ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 by following best international practice.

In Route ’35, the think tank called for the UK government to put a market-based zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate at the heart of its plan for transport decarbonisation. Introduced to California in the 1990s, and later in nine other US states, a ZEV mandate means manufacturers must sell an increasing number of zero-emission vehicles as a share of their overall shares or purchase credits from other manufacturers.

In the case of the UK, transport is the biggest source of greenhouse gases, providing 28% of domestic emissions in 2018 with cars accounting for over half that figure (15%). If the UK is to end the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans by 2035 or earlier, the report stressed a comprehensive policy framework will be needed. It advised against expanded existing schemes, warning that this would prove unnecessarily expensive and fail to harness market competition. The Plug-in Car Grant, for example, which is currently used to support ZEVs, has already cost over £800mn and will cost another £400mn by 2023.

In contrast, a ZEV mandate, combined with the appropriate industrial strategy, would make the UK more attractive to world leading EV manufacturers such as Tesla and prove revenue neutral. Government funding would then be freed up and should be used to expand policies that complement the ZEV roll-out, including support for EV charging infrastructure, the report added.

Policy Exchange