The fleet and leasing industry has broadly welcomed the publication of the government’s zero emission (ZEV) mandate, just days after it was announced that the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles would be pushed back to 2035.

The ZEV mandate sets out targets for EV sales for manufacturers in the UK. The long awaited mandate has been prepared after a consultation programme with stakeholders which included vehicle manufacturers, trade associations, EV chargepoint and infrastructure operators, energy providers, fleet operators and drivetrain manufacturers. The mandate is a joint approach from the UK government, Welsh and Scottish devolved administrations and the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland.

The main element of the ZEV mandate is the annual targets table, which runs until 2035. In 2024 the sales share target for EVs is 22% of total vehicle sales. This rises incrementally every year until it will be 100% by 2035. With the delay to the petrol and diesel ban having only been announced on 20th September, motor manufacturers were keen to know what the revised targets would be over the extra five year period.

With less than 100 days to go until 2024, industry leaders felt it was important for manufacturers to have clarity on what they will be required to sell next year and over subsequent years to achieve the decarbonisation targets.

"The industry is investing billions in decarbonisation and recognises the importance of this mechanism as the single most important measure to deliver net zero," said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. "Delivering the mandate will challenge the industry, despite the flexibilities now included to support pragmatic, equitable delivery given this diverse sector. It is worth noting the mandate means the UK still retains the most ambitious transition timeline of any major market but without any private consumer incentives.”

Tim Buchan, chief executive of the fleet management company Zenith, said: “EVs are essential for our net zero future and so the formal clarification of the ZEV mandate provides reassurance from the government that despite the delay to the 2030 deadline, they are committed to an EV future.

“It also shows government are engaging with industry, having made some minor adjustments to support the van sector which is a sector still in the infancy of its transition. Well-defined deadlines and targets enable the industry to strategise and invest effectively and gives fleet operators much-needed clarity when setting their own ambitious EV transition goals”, added Buchan.