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Dealer's anger over "bloody shambles" EV policy from Government

A director of an AM100 dealer group has branded the UK Government’s zero emissions vehicle strategy “a bloody shambles” after industry targets were reaffirmed by the Department for Transport yesterday, one week on from when car buyers were told they'll get extra time to adapt.

“What on earth was all that about last week, just (prime minister Rishi) Sunak giving the general public a cuddle and saying ‘it’s okay you won’t really have to buy electric until 2035’? Then we’ve still got to make sure eight in 10 of the new cars we sell are EV by 2030, right?” said the director, who asked not to be named.

“It’s a bloody shambles. I’m furious. We’ve been working damn hard to give more of our customers the confidence to consider the switch to EV, and Sunak’s essentially said they don’t need to be in a rush for another decade.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed that a Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) mandate will come into force next year and require 22% of cars and 10% of vans sold by manufacturers to be pure electric-powered and generating zero tailpipe emissions.

Electric car chargingTransport secretary Mark Harper confirmed the detail around targets for manufacturers which will increase each year, requiring 80% of new cars and 70% of new vans sold in Great Britain to be zero emission by 2030, increasing to 100% by 2035.  

Vehicle makers that fail to achieve the ZEV mandate sales targets will be subject to fines, with a system of proposed flexibilities and credits to support those that sell a low volume of EVs.

If a company misses the target, it will be made to pay the Government £15,000 for every car that doesn't comply.

For vans, manufacturers will have to pay £9,000 per vehicle next year, before the van payment increases to £18,000 for the rest of the regulation’s timeframe. 

The dealer group director said a few of his dealerships have recorded good growth in battery electric vehicle sales since the start of 2022, largely with corporate customers but also with retail buyers taking personal contract hire (PCH). But he now fears that any growth will stall unless he and his OEMs sacrifice their margins.

“When it comes down to it, we will sell whatever product we have to sell, of course.

"But our job won’t be any easier in the next few years. Plus by 2030 half the used cars we'll be selling will be electric too, so we'll need help convincing used car customers.

“It’s all because Sunak won’t stick his hand in his pocket and help to incentivise EVs for the normal motorist, that’s what it is.”

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After yesterday's confirmation of the ZEV mandate by the DfT, Sue Robinson, chief executive of the National Franchised Dealer Association (NFDA), said dealers are committed to helping the UK in reaching net-zero and reducing emissions within transport, but the government’s decision today to keep ZEV mandate unchanged "generates concern", and consumers will need incentives to buy EVs.

She added: "These ambitious registration targets will create a difficult trading environment in conjunction with the recent decision to push back the ban of petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 to 2035.

"As the consumer facing end of the industry, franchised dealers will have to continue to push for electric vehicles to meet these targets whilst the recent five-year delay will likely damage consumers demand for electric vehicles."

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