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Zero emission vehicle transition by 2035 now law

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The government has set a pathway towards all new cars and vans being zero emission by 2035. This zero emission vehicle mandate became law on 3 January 2024.

The press release marking the commencement of the new laws comments that the UK now has the most ambitious regulatory framework for the switch to electric vehicles of any country in the world. The mandate is expected to help the car industry and manufacturers to have certainty and be able to safeguard jobs.

Originally the ban on new diesel and petrol cars was set to come into force in 2030, however this was pushed back to 2035 by the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, in September 2023. Availability of new electric cars, high costs, concerns about practicality from small businesses, and a lack of nationwide charging infrastructure were cited as the main reasons for the decision.

The postponement took the pressure off businesses and consumers alike but added uncertainty for businesses and investors involved in electric cars and the related technology. By making the mandate law it seems the government hopes to demonstrate a solid commitment to their pathway for zero emission vehicle transition by 2035.

In addition to setting the end date, the zero emission vehicle mandate also specifies the percentage of new zero emission cars and vans that manufacturers will have to produce each year up until 2030. The mandate requires that 80% of new cars and 70% of new vans sold in Great Britain be zero emission by 2030. This will then increase to 100% by 2035.

The UK's charging network continues to grow. The government reports that there are now over 50,000 public chargepoints, a 44% increase on this time last year. The target is 300,000 chargepoints by 2030.

Businesses should therefore be considering this mandate when reviewing company car and van purchases. There are tax advantages to having an electric vehicle as a company car with reduced benefit in kind costs, although these need to be weighed against the purchase cost.

It is also worth remembering that there is a plug-in van grant of up to £2,500 for small vans and £5,000 for large vans available at least until 2025 that can help defray the cost. For guidance on the grant, click here: Plug-in Van Grant guidance

If you would like any help with assessing the costs and tax on electric vehicles, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help!

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