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Fleets, charging firms and government all have key role in ‘EV revolution’

By / 1 year ago / UK News / No Comments

Fleet electric vehicle adoption is crucial to accelerating EV take-up in the UK but operators, charge point firms and the Government need to take action to drive the sector, according to a new report.

If fleets are to maximise the opportunity of electrification, they need to take some critical and preparatory steps in designing their road map

With fleets accounting for roughly half of the UK’s new car market (56% in 2019), switching the 5.3 million fleet vehicles on the UK’s roads to electric could cut as much as 30 million tonnes of CO2 – around 25% of all UK transport missions.

Published by Cornwall Insight and PwC, the new report on ‘Leading the charge! Fleet charging – a catalyst for the EV revolution’ also says fleet EV adoption would generate fuel cost savings of around 63% across a fleet and significantly boost the second-hand car market.

The report sets out that field services, depot-based logistics and leased corporate car fleets are likely to electrify first but urges all fleets to take critical and preparatory steps in designing their road map to ensure they maximise the opportunity of electrification.

But the report also says that government policy has a critical role to play in enabling the EV fleet transition.

Steve Jennings, PwC UK’s Energy and Utilities leader, added: “It’s clear that field services, depot-based logistics and leased corporate car fleets have the right characteristics (such as predictable driving and charging patterns) to spearhead EV adoption.

“However, pent-up demand and rising levels of awareness amongst fleets is not enough to accelerate adoption. Government policy has a critical role to play. As we emerge from the current Covid-19 pandemic, alongside a strong focus on stimulating economic growth, we may see a growing emphasis on sustainability, including regulatory and strategic support for EV charging, to help address emission levels and improve air quality.

And while fleet electrification providers will be an attractive opportunity for institutional investors, the business models of charge point operators need to incorporate some key principles to be successful and to ensure ‘range anxiety’ does not stall the electrification of this vital segment.

Daniel Atzori, research partner at Cornwall Insight, added: “Since fleets can ensure a high rate of utilisation of charging assets, fleet charging offers a range of interesting investment propositions. Having a clear and well-defined strategy will be crucial for fleet managers, charge point operators and investors looking to achieve leadership in this emerging market.”

The new report furthers ongoing fleet industry research that has shown drivers’ desire to go green. Latest new car registration figures showed ultra-low emission vehicles accounted for more new car registrations than diesels in June, supporting ongoing reports that ULEVs will be vital to new car market recovery.

Research by Arval last week showed fleet intentions to adopt electrified vehicles have risen rapidly in the last 12 months, in particular for plug-in hybrids – driven largely by the new company car tax ratings for 2020/21 that see Benefit-in-Kind fall to 0%, rising to 1% in 2021/22.

However, Jennings added: “Without policy certainty for all stakeholders across fleets, EV charging providers and investors, there is a risk that the full potential of this burgeoning EV revolution will not be realised.”

To access the Cornwall Insight/PwC report on ‘Leading the charge! Fleet charging – a catalyst for the EV revolution’, click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 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 edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.