Manufacturers to miss electric car sales targets15 May 2024

Car manufacturers will miss a key Government target for pure battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales according to the industry’s trade body.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) told members of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee that the market share of pure battery electric cars is expected to be 19.8% this year.

That is less than the 22% they are obligated to sell under the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate which sees the threshold rise year-on-year until it reaches 80% by 2030 and 100% by 2035 when the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be prohibited.

SMMT figures show that the proportion of new BEVs sold so far this year is 15.7%.

Martin Sander, general manager of Ford’s electric car business, told the Financial Times Future of the Car summit earlier this month that the company could be forced to restrict sales of petrol cars in the UK to artificially boost the proportion of EV purchases.

Under the rules of the mandate, manufacturers risk being required to pay the Government £15,000 per polluting vehicle sold above the limits.

But ministers do not expect any businesses to face fines this year, as they will be able to use flexibilities such as purchasing credits from rival companies.

Mr Wong said the SMMT wanted to see three measures introduced to drive on the sale of electric vehicles:

  1. the halving of the VAT rate levied on the purchase of EVs for the next three years
  2. an exemption for EVs from the expensive car supplement which is set to be levied from next year on those battery-powere cars costing over £40,000
  3. a reduction from 20% to 5% in the VAT rate levied on public charge point tariffs to bring it in line with the amount of VAT charged for domestic energy use

Mr Wong said there are now just over 100 pure BEV models on sale in the UK. They have an average range of 236 miles.

Of the new BEVs being introduced to the market this year the average range is expected to be around 300 miles.

Quentin Willson, automotive journalist and founder of EV campaign group FairCharge, said:

“We need to give people a reason to buy these cars.”He called for “inexpensive incentives” for owning an EV, such as free parking and being able to use bus lanes.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Whether it’s buying or running an electric car cost is clearly a key issue, but the mood music from Whitehall suggests there will be no more publicly money to ease buyers into the market. That leaves manufacturers with the task of pitching their products at the right price to drive sales and meet their obligations under the ZEV mandate.

“Cost is critical but so is convenience – car-buyers’ trust in battery-powered travel appears to have stalled in part at least because of the fears – rightly or wrongly – that swapping a petrol or diesel car for something you plug in is going to make life harder rather than easier.

“Drivers want faff-free motoring and that’s clearly still a work in progress when it comes to running and recharging EVs. Industry and government need to tackle the negative perceptions, and quickly, if the ultimate goal of greening road transport is to be achieved at a rapid pace.”



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

[email protected] | 07711 776448

Notes to editors:

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