Car makers could be forced to sell a rising share of electric cars each year in the UK to accelerate the move to zero-emission vehicles, according to reports in the media.

The Times have reported that ministers are considering a California-style ‘zero emission vehicle mandate’, which would be similar to that launched in California in the 1990s and force a minimum volume of plug-in cars to be sold by car makers each and every year.

Some MPs feel that the mandate would be a good way of shifting the UK population towards buying electric vehicles, acting as an additional method of bridging the proposed ban on sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by the end 2035.

Under a proposed zero emissions mandate, car makers would need to sell an increasing volume of zero emission vehicles as a rising share of their overall sales.

If they fail to meet their sales target, they would be able to purchase credits from other car makers to make up the difference. It is not clear what would happen to a car maker if they don’t earn enough credits through zero emissions sales in a year, one guesses a fine or penalty.

The government has said it would consider a mandate in a response to a Committee on Climate Change report published in the summer. It said that there was a real need to ‘go further than the existing regulatory regime to reduce CO2 emissions from road transport’, and that it was looking into a zero emissions mandate as part of the government’s “Transport Decarbonisation Plan”.

Demand for pure electric cars in 2020 is at a record high. More than 66,600 pure electric vehicles have been bought by the end of September, which is a massive year-on-year increase of 184 per cent. Electric-only cars account for 5.4 per cent of all vehicle registrations in the UK.

If a mandate was put in place to force car makers to sell a rising number of electric only vehicles in their range, it would allow the government to retract subsidies and tax incentives, such as the £3,000 Plug-in Car Grant and VED road tax exemption. The Government has made no secret that it wants to phase out the availability of electric-car deals, which it outlined in its Road to Zero document in summer 2018.

In that report the Government said: ‘As the market becomes better established and more competitive, the need for direct government financial support will decrease. We therefore expect to deliver a managed exit from the grant in due course and to continue to support the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles through other measures.’

Parked up electric car

[“Parking spot for electric vehicles only” by marcoverch is licensed under CC BY 2.0]

The Government are expected to announce their plans to bring forward the ban on new petrol, diesel, hybrid cars from 2035 to 2030. MPs are urging the Prime Minister to accelerate the ban so that the Government can achieve its target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

The plans would dramatically accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles, expected to be announced later this year alongside a series of new clean energy policies. Downing Street had intended to unveil the blueprints in September, but the recent health crisis prevented it from occurring.

The change of ban date, backed by the Committee on Climate Change, is likely to be set out by the Government alongside plans for Britain to become a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.

Greenpeace UK’s head of politics, Rebecca Newsom, gave her full support to a mandate. She said: ‘Moving the ban on petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans forward to 2030 is an absolute must if the government is to meet its legally binding climate commitments. Any later and it becomes almost impossible.

‘But a ban alone won’t see this change take place without the policies that force it over the line. That’s why a zero emissions vehicle mandate for car manufacturers would be an incredibly smart move to bring new jobs to UK.

In order to dangle the carrot for people buying a new car, the government must use the stick with manufacturers to ensure costs come down and sales go up.’

Car is fueling up

Drivers expect to go electric by 2025

A new survey by breakdown firm Green Flag has said the average UK driver now expects to purchase an electric car within the next four years.

A poll of 1,500 drivers found that more than half (54 per cent) are in favour of electric cars, with fuel savings and being eco-friendly the biggest perks, followed by lower servicing an maintenance costs and the convenience of being able to charge a vehicle at home.

Mark Newberry, commercial director at Green Flag, said: ‘Our research has found that the main concern for drivers converting to electric is running out of charge mid-journey. Try to think back to the last time that you broke down because you ran out of petrol?

‘We want to reassure drivers that it only takes a few small adjustments to enjoy an electric vehicle – if you look after your car, prepare for your journey and drive carefully you should see minimal changes to your driving routines.’

Do you think its a good a idea to force car manufacturers to sell a rising amount of zero emissions vehicles each year and should we ban the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars forward to 2030? Let us know in the comments below.

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