With the government’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate just weeks away from implementation, most dealers believe the new legislation will fail in its mission to boost electric vehicle (EV) adoption among consumers. 

The JudgeService Dealer Barometer polled the views of 100 dealers to identify the key trends likely to impact EV sales from 2024. 

Dealers indicated the effectiveness of the ZEV Mandate in encouraging consumer EV sales will be negated by the government’s decision to push back its 2030 ban on new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle sales until 2035, giving consumers more time to consider transitioning. 

The research found 39% of dealers believe the delay will negatively impact demand for EVs, despite the ZEV Mandate requiring carmakers to sell an escalating minimum quota of EVs, starting at 22% in 2024. 

Most dealers (70%) thought the government’s original deadline of 2030 was unachievable and 80% do not support the Labour Party’s current policy of reinstating it.   

Neil Addley, managing director of JudgeService, said: “Our research shows how most dealers don’t think the introduction of the ZEV Mandate will succeed in boosting EV sales among consumers. This means carmakers might try to avoid hefty fines by forcing the new car market through self-registrations and demonstrators, as well as encouraging local business and fleet sales”.

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“By delaying the ICE ban for five years, dealers believe consumers are now less likely to consider transitioning to EVs in their next buying cycle because they have been given more time to do so. 

“From 2024 dealers will face a dilemma; more new EVs will be available from carmakers but demand could be muted as consumers make the most of their reprieve and buy ICE cars instead”.

The research also found nearly half of dealers (47%) have already changed the way their businesses operate in readiness for the original ICE ban, while 24% will wait until closer to the 2035 ban. 

Of those dealers who have started the process, over a third (36%) said they have already changed the way their service departments operate in readiness for increased EV throughput. While over half (54%) of those waiting until closer to 2035 have not yet seen a shift from ICE to EVs for new or used sales. 

“The best strategy for dealers is to target fleet and local business EV sales in 2024 to compensate for the lack of consumer appetite. While OEMs should consider using the strength of their existing model names to transition to EV – sticking an E on the back of a well-known car is more sensible than inventing a whole new model line-up”, said Addley. 

In the meantime, JudgeService has updated all of its services to include feedback on alternative fuels, hybrids and EVs. 

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