Car manufacturers are facing a ‘real worry’ when it comes to meeting the government’s upcoming targets for electric car sales.
That is the verdict of Toyota’s UK boss, Agustin Martin (pictured), who believes that the motor industry could soon be dealing with major headaches in relation to the legislation.
He also admitted that 2024 is likely to be a ‘challenging year’ for the car industry because of high interesting rates ‘which are clearly going to stay longer than anyone wants’.
His comments come less than four months from the beginning of the controversial ZEV mandate, which is being introduced from the start of 2024.
The new law will require a certain percentage of the sales of every car manufacturer to be electric, otherwise, firms will be fined.
Next year, the required percentage will be 22 per cent, rising each year to 80 per cent in 2030, when new petrol and diesel car sales will be banned, followed by hybrids five years later.
Car makers unable to meet their targets will be fined, with the government proposing a £15,000 penalty for every non-electric car and £18,000 per non-electric van they miss their target by.
While all-electric brands like Tesla and the new Chinese disruptors will have no concerns over the measures, several of the more traditional names are likely to struggle.
Martin, president and managing director of Toyota UK, says a number of firms will struggle to meet the targets but warned about the dangers of trying to force demand.
He said: ‘Achieving the ZEV mandate is a real worry for everyone, because one thing is working out a strategy on a flea market, but it’s much harder to have a strategy on a market that is fixed.
‘If there is wind behind the sails, then that’s fine, but what happens if there is no wind? I don’t think it’s a worry for just Toyota, I think it’s a worry for everyone.’
Hybrids currently make up the majority of Toyota’s sales with the firm’s only full EV – the bZ4X – selling in very limited numbers.
While Martin said Toyota ‘fully supported’ the ZEV mandate, he believes there should be greater flexibility built in to allow its predominantly hybrid line-up of cars to be sold even after the 2030 deadline.
He said: ‘We discuss very conservatively with the government that we believe there are many different ways to achieve carbon neutrality targets that we all have, and that’s why we believe a multi-path strategy is the right solution.
‘We believe that the best way forward is that there should be flexibility built in so that everyone can respond to them. Everyone is playing their cards.
‘Our [hybrid] technology is proven to be effective, so it’s not a dream or a theory, it’s a reality, and we believe that it has a role to play now and in the future.’
‘We are full in on the 2035 date and are planning for zero emissions, but in 2030 we still believe that there will be a role for other technologies to deliver a reduction in CO2 emissions.
‘We believe that every CO2 reduction is worthwhile. It’s not zero or 100. If you go from 100 to 90 to 80 to 70, that helps and if you live in certain areas and drive in a different way and manage to reduce your consumption by one gram, that is better than nothing, so why should go zero or nothing?’