Production of commercial vehicles in the UK have received a shot in the arm with the first full month of production of zero emission light commercial vehicles at the remodelled Ellesmere Port. Following an investment of £100m the first vehicles started rolling off the production line in mid-September and the number of vehicles coming off the line have gathered pace.
As a result, our latest figures show that 12,853 vans, buses, trucks, coaches and taxis rolled out of factory gates across the UK’s myriad production facilities. That’s 4,113 units up on last year and year to date, output is now up 15.3% year to date.
Helping to drive this growth are the billions of pounds of investment made by the automotive sector in manufacturing, as we shift the industry to produce zero emission vehicles. Exports are also crucial to the health of the sector – last month, the UK built 8,680 commercial vehicles for export – more than two thirds of our total production for the month.
Securing this ongoing success is crucial – not guaranteed. Tougher Rules of Origin are set to come into effect from 1 January 2024, which risk enforcing tariffs on electric vehicles built on either side of the Channel. With just weeks remaining, a reasonable and long-term plan is needed, and urgently, to avoid competitiveness challenges and rising costs for businesses.
Also in parallel with new rules of origin, January will see the UK market come under new regulation. This week the draft Vehicle Emissions Trading Schemes Order 2023 has been debated in Parliament – and already has been passed by the Welsh and Scottish Parliaments. Otherwise known as the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate, this legislation will enforce manufacturers with sales quotas starting at 10% for new zero emission vans, with the required proportion rising to 2030. Making sure the market can keep up will mean we must continue to attract investment in production – and ensure that new rules don’t unintentionally disincentive drivers from switching.