U.K. Government's Mixed Messages See Consumers Delay BEV Switch

Electric-car leasing company blames conflicting decisions by regulators that could have automakers facing big fines.

Paul Myles, European Editor

January 18, 2024

2 Min Read
Automakers facing fines for missing mandated BEV sales target.

Mixed messages from the U.K. government are placing automakers at risk of punitive fines when they fail to meet the mandated sales target for battery-electric vehicles.

That’s the message from BEV leasing company DriveElectric, which claims the government’s decision to delay a blanket ban on sales of all new internal-combustion-engine-powered vehicles plus a lack of meaningful purchase incentives for private consumers are persuading many car buyers to delay switching to tailpipe-emission-free vehicles.

It points out that the U.K.’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate kicks in this year to force automakers to ensure that 22% of their new-car sales in 2024 are zero emission, while 10% of van sales have to be zero emission. The mandate will increase each year with the required percentage of BEV sales scaling up to 100% in 2035.

The company says many automakers are likely to fall short of the target because of consumer decisions to wait-and-see and because the manufacturers currently do not have enough BEVs in their model ranges. Those who fail to meet the target sales will face steep fines of £15,000 ($17,100) for each vehicle within that 22% allocation that is not zero emission.

DriveElectric acknowledges that commercial users do enjoy significant tax incentives to choose a BEV over an ICE alternative but that these may not be enough to make up the carmakers’ shortfall in sales.

It points out that its forecast of 380,000 registrations of BEVs in 2024 of an expected U.K. total of 2 million new-car registrations equates to a market share of 19%, well short of the target of 22% mandated target.

Mike Potter, DriveElectric's managing director, says: “Owing to an absence of consumer incentives and many manufacturers not having sufficient EVs in their model lineups, it’s likely to be a challenge to meet the target of 22% of new cars being zero emission. Organizations will be continuing to adopt EVs in order to make progress towards their net zero and sustainability commitments, but feedback suggests that misinformation about electric cars in the media is having a negative impact on buyers.”

About the Author(s)

Paul Myles

European Editor, Informa Group

Paul Myles is an award-winning journalist based in Europe covering all aspects of the automotive industry. He has a wealth of experience in the field working at specialist, national and international levels.

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