What is the ZEV Mandate?

The Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate came into law on January 3, 2024.

It is a government policy tool that requires car manufacturers to sell a certain percentage of electric vehicles each year. Its goal is to reduce the number of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars on the road in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from transport and help fight climate change.

ZEV Mandates have already been adopted in several countries and states in the United States, the European Union, and China, where it has shown to be successful in increasing the number of EVs on the road and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

The ZEV Mandate is a complex policy, but it can be boiled down to a few key points:

  • Car manufacturers must sell a certain percentage of ZEVs each year, with the percentage of ZEVs required to sell increasing over time until 100% is reached in 2035.
  • Car manufacturers will have ZEV sales converted into certificates and be required to hold a certain number of certificates at the end of each year in relation to the total number of vehicles they’ve sold.
  • There are also separate targets for CO2 emissions to regulate non-ZEVs.
  • Manufacturers who fail to hit their target will either have to ‘trade’ certificates with other manufacturers who have exceeded their targets, or will be fined £15k per car.


Some of the benefits of having a ZEV Mandate in place include:

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions as EVs produce zero emissions
  • Improved air quality in our towns and cities as EVs do not produce tailpipe emissions
  • Increased energy security as EVs by replacing the reliance on oil with largely homegrown energy sources.
  • Economic growth and job creation by bringing skilled jobs and investment in the energy and automotive sectors

The UK Government commitments

In 2019, the UK committed to meet net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, to ensure the end of its contribution to Climate Change.

To achieve this, Boris Johnson announced in 2020 his “Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution”, which outlined the end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, with all new cars and vans being fully zero emission at the tailpipe from 2035.

The UK Government reviewed this policy in September 2023, with the planned phase out of unabated petrol and diesel car and van sales, due to be banned in 2030, being moved back to 2035. The trajectory for ZEVs remained unchanged, with 80% of all new car sales still needing to be ZEV by 2030. In effect, this policy removed the need for ICE cars to be plug-in hybrids from 2030-35. 

The ZEV Mandate requirement however remained enchanged: at least 22% of new cars and 10% of new vans will need to be zero-emission in 2024.

The Government also introduced several schemes to lower the upfront and running costs of owning an EV, including a plug-in van grant of up to £2,500 for small vans and £5,000 for large vans until at least 2025 and £350 off the cost of homeplace chargepoints for people living in flats. This is in addition to EVs being cheaper to run than petrol and diesel cars, with research showing that electric cars are around £150 cheaper to maintain a year.

Implementing the ZEV Mandate in the UK

From April to June 2022, the Government ran a consultation on:

  • the level of ZEV uptake (trajectories)
  • how certificates could be allocated and used
  • the banking, borrowing and transfer of ZEV certificates
  • the possibility of derogations and exemptions within the ZEV mandate
  • how to regulate the non-ZEV portion of the fleet.

EVA England contributed to this consultation and was part of a coalation campaigning for a strong mandate.

Following this consultation, the UK government announced the results of ZEV Mandate in March 2023, confirming the 2030/35 dates and the trajectory from 22% in 2024 to 100% by 2035 for new cars.

Annual targets for ZEV sales shares from 2024 to 2035 for cars:

Year 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029
Target 22% 28% 33% 38% 52% 66%
Year 2030 2031 2032 2033 2034 2035
Target 80% 84% (*) 88% (*) 92% (*) 96% (*) 100% (*)

(*) Target will be set out in future legislation later in the decade.

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