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2013 CVO Barometer shows growing fleet interest in EVs

That’s one of the findings of this year’s Corporate Vehicle Observatory (CVO) Barometer, supported by Arval, which includes more than 4,800 interviews with fleet decision makers across 16 countries. 

The results show that in the UK, fleets of all sizes are focused on reducing their environmental impact. With cost and the environment directly linked, partly due to manufacturer developments and partly due to the Government’s approach to taxation, fleet efficiency is clearly high on the business agenda. 

Looking at businesses with 100 or more employees, 61% are focused on reducing fuel consumption, 59% plan to shift to less polluting vehicles and 7% plan to incorporate electric vehicles into their fleet. The picture is a similar one for companies with less than 100 employees.  

This is a position further reinforced by the CVO finding that in the next two years, 4% of businesses with 100 or more employees definitely intend to introduce electric vehicles while 14% possibly expect to do so. 

Mike Waters, senior insight and consultancy manager at Arval, said: ‘There is a clear trend towards more efficient and sustainable vehicles and the research shows that this includes new vehicle technologies. From the current base, a 4% adoption of electric vehicles would be a significant increase.’

Interestingly, 18% of businesses are even willing to pay a price premium in order to operate zero emission vehicles. Waters said: ‘The ongoing savings that businesses can make on the most efficient vehicles can outweigh the up-front premium that they pay. That’s why we always encourage businesses to take a Total Cost of Ownership approach to vehicle selection. It is the only way to make the most informed and the most prudent decisions.’  

Of course there still remain barriers to the adoption of new vehicle technologies, with the most prominent predictably being the limited number of charging points available. Waters comments: ‘It is undeniable that fully electric vehicles have a smaller range which is why some fleets look to hybrids or range extenders as a more practical option while we wait for advances in battery technology and a larger charging network within the UK.’ 

‘Effectiveness is purely based on the operational circumstances and drivecycle. If you are travelling long distances then probably full electric vehicles will not be appropriate. However, if you mainly complete short, local journeys they can really come into their own.’

So despite some barriers, there are positive signs that business demand for new vehicle technologies is growing. This research shows that there is a willingness to adopt new technology if it delivers the right results and leasing companies have a key role to play in providing practical vehicle selection advice to their customers. 

Waters concluded: ‘For new vehicle technologies, as with more traditional petrol and diesel variants, the key is to understand what you need the vehicle for and then select the right one for the job. If you can successfully marry up the business requirement with the right vehicles, you could end up with a really efficient and effective company vehicle fleet.’

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 14 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie works across the magazine portfolio and updates the company websites with daily news, interviews and road test content.

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