LowCVP becomes Zemo as race to electrify road transport gathers pace

Ford has said that all its European passenger vehicle sales will be electric from 2030

Green vehicle advocacy group LowCVP is updating its focus from low-carbon to zero-carbon vehicles, as Ford becomes the latest auto giant to beef up its electric vehicle plans In yet another indication of the accelerating pace of the transition from internal combustion to electric vehicles (EVs), public-private green vehicle coalition the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) announced today it is changing its name to Zemo Partnership in a bid to reflect the industry's renewed focus on delivering fully zero emission technologies. The LowCVP was established in 2003 as a public-private partnership working to accelerate the uptake of lower carbon vehicles and fuels.

Since then, the terrain surrounding road transport policy has transformed, with the UK government committed to banning sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030. The body's name change to Zemo Partnership is intended to reflect this progress, it said, signalling its embrace of net zero emissions targets, alongside the broader recognition that the scale of the climate emergency means low carbon technologies need to be largely replaced by zero emission alternatives.

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The name change is accompanied by a new 'Partnership Charter' being launched by the body, stating its commitment to supporting the transition to zero transport emissions, which its 200+ member organisations will be asked to sign. These organisations represent a broad range of sectors, including automotive and fuel supply chains, government, vehicle users, academics, environment groups, and more.

"For the past 18 years LowCVP has played a pivotal role in helping to deliver the UK's low emission transport targets," said Zemo Partnership's managing director Andy Eastlake. "In 2020, over 10 per cent of all new cars sold were ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), surpassing the target set out at the LowCVP's inception in 2003. But today low is no longer enough and we must reset our targets, roll up our sleeves and focus on the road to zero." While some progress has so far been made on decarbonising road transport, the bulk of the journey still lies ahead.

Overall road transport emissions in the UK have fallen by five per cent since Zemo was founded in 2003, despite road miles increasing by 20 per cent. But transport remains the UK's largest greenhouse gas emission sector, responsible for around 28 per cent of emissions, with around three-quarters of these caused by road transport alone. Moreover, while road transport's overall emissions have fallen from 2003, they are significantly higher than in 1995, and on a par with 2000.

Still, with the UK having in place a ban on the sale of internal combustion vehicles from 2030 and many other developed nations expected to make similar moves in the coming years, the coming decade is expected to see a huge explosion in demand for EVs. Car manufacturers are ramping up their EV plans and just yesterday US car giant Ford pledged to sell only EVs in Europe from 2030, in a move that would see it eliminate fossil fuel vehicles entirely from its European range. All Ford's passenger vehicles in Europe will be "zero-emissions capable all-electric or plug-in hybrid" by mid-2026, the firm added, before shifting gear to become "completely all-electric" by 2030.

The ambitious transition to all-electric models will be facilitated by converting a vehicle assembly plant in Cologne, Germany into its first EV facility on the continent, Ford added, estimating it will invest £1bn in the site with a view to it starting production of all-electric cars in 2023. All commercial vehicles will have plug-in hybrid options from 2024, Ford added, while two-thirds of its van sales will be zero emission by 2030. "We are charging into an all-electric future in Europe with expressive new vehicles and a world-class connected customer experience," said Stuart Rowley, head of Ford's European operations. "Our announcement today to transform our Cologne facility, the home of our operations in Germany for 90 years, is one of the most significant Ford has made in over a generation.

It underlines our commitment to Europe and a modern future with electric vehicles at the heart of our strategy for growth."

Ford is just the latest car manufacturer to outline ambitious plans to shift its focus to electric vehicles over the course of the next decade.

On Monday, the UK-based firm Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) similarly announced that all cars produced under its Jaguar brand will be fully electric from 2025, while luxury car brand Bentley also recently committed to going all-electric by 2030.

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