Vehicle manufacturers will be mandated to sell a certain percentage of zero-emission cars and vans from 2024 under the UK’s plan to reach net zero.
The Government said it will “provide certainty” to motorists, energy providers and the chargepoint industry before the ban on new petrol and diesel cars and vans comes into force in 2030.
A consultation will be launched in early 2022 on the exact proportions of zero-emission vehicles that will need to be sold each year under the mandate, and how it will be enforced.
Other transport commitments in the Government’s net zero strategy include an additional £620 million of funding to support the rollout of charging infrastructure.
The money will be focused on boosting on-street residential charging and “targeted plug-in vehicle grants”.
"The auto industry is putting zero-emission vehicles on Britain’s roads at pace beyond all forecasts. A well-designed regulatory framework could help maintain or even increase this pace to ensure we deliver on shared decarbonisation ambitions"@MikeHawesSMMT on Net Zero Strategy pic.twitter.com/U4fJkLBCod
— SMMT (@SMMT) October 19, 2021
The Government has pledged to “take action” to increase the occupancy of road vehicles from an average of 1.55 to 1.7 by 2030.
Work is taking place to understand the “barriers and potential policies to increase the update of share mobility”, the strategy said.
RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said the continuation of the plug-in car grant, worth up to £2,500, and the provision of high-quality charging infrastructure “are both vitally important”.
This is because making electric vehicles more affordable will rely on “enough new vehicles being sold in the first place”.
Mr Lyes said that an attempt to increase vehicle occupancy “could be a tough message to sell to drivers, especially in light of the coronavirus”.
He added: “A focus on encouraging drivers to combine journeys, and investigate alternatives for their shortest trips, might be a more straightforward path to follow.”
The AA’s president, Edmund King, welcomed the funding for chargepoints, but described the mandate on sales of zero-emission vehicles as “probably unnecessary”.
He added: “Manufacturers are already taking big steps in order to meet the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars and vans, but bringing in this red-tape exercise could harm car production plans already in place.”
Mike Hawes, chief executive of trade association the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said a “well-designed, flexible regulatory framework” could help increase sales of electric cars.
He added that consumers will “only have confidence” they can charge an electric car if there are “binding requirements on the infrastructure sector”.
The net zero strategy includes previously-announced commitments to invest £2 billion in cycling and walking, and £3 billion in bus services.
It also pledges to “electrify more railway lines”, but does not say where this may happen.