Carmakers in UK must meet EV sales targets despite delays to petrol vehicle ban

According to those briefed about the new government regulations, even though ministers are pushing back on a petrol car ban, the UK auto industry will have to meet mandatory targets for electric vehicle sales starting in January.

After Rishi Sunak on Wednesday delayed the UK ban on the sale new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 to 2035. Ministers contacted the industry to inform them of the planned EV goals.

After the reported conversations were made public, Kemi Bdenoch, the business secretary, said that a mandate “still exists” with the goal of 80 percent new electric vehicles by 2030.

Insiders in the automotive industry are concerned that the goal is now harder to achieve for carmakers, because the delayed ban of petrol cars will discourage consumers from buying EVs.

The UK EV Sales Scheme is based partly on China’s Quota System. Manufacturers are required to sell a growing proportion of zero-emission cars each year in this decade, or they will be fined up to £15,000 per vehicle.

The scheme will undergo some minor tweaks, but the initial target of 22 percent of sales by each automaker in 2024 being zero-emission will remain. In 2030, the goal will be 80 percent.

They added that interim targets, including a provision requiring more than half the new cars sold in 2028 to be EVs, could change slightly.

In 2030, manufacturers will be able make 20% of their sales with petrol, diesel, and hybrid vehicles, but that percentage will decrease every year until 2035.

The government is expected to publish the full details of the UK scheme later this week.

Insiders in the government said that the continuation of the EV sale scheme was a sign that ministers are still committed to moving Britain towards electric vehicles.

The Ministers are confident that the various flexibility measures that have been built into the scheme will ensure that no company pays penalties if it misses its early EV targets.

Carmakers warn that Sunak’s new 2035 deadline to ban petrol and diesel sales, as part of a broader watering-down of the government’s net zero goals will discourage consumers from purchasing EVs.

Mike Hawes is the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (the trade body for the automobile industry). He said that the delay until 2035 will lead to “confusion” in the minds of motorists.

He added, “Consumers are delaying their purchases because of this.”

The SMMT has warned that the demand for EVs is falling, as consumers are discouraged by high prices and insufficient charging infrastructure.

Currently, anyone who purchases an EV via a company-car scheme or salary-sacrifice programme will receive generous tax incentives.

Last year, the government reduced incentives to consumers.

Hawes said that the ban on petrol cars must be “backed up” with attractive incentives, and measures to speed up charging infrastructure. This will give consumers confidence to switch to EVs.