Government plans to end the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2035, or earlier, would fail to recognise the diverse needs of fleet operators.
That’s the view of trade body the British Vehicle Leasing and Rental Association (BVRLA), which labelled the idea a mistake in its response to the Government consultation.
It argues that the diversity of vehicles and business models used within the fleet sector means that 2035 would be an unambitious target for some market segments but a near impossible challenge for others.
The BVRLA has urged policymakers to instead focus on these different segments, providing the appropriate support and phase out targets for the relevant vehicle use cases.
BVRLA chief executive, Gerry Keaney, explained: “Our response is the culmination of the biggest policy engagement process we have ever undertaken, involving dozens of stakeholders and BVRLA members from across the rental, car club, leasing and fleet management sectors.
“The net-zero transition is a huge undertaking and Government must give specific consideration to the demand measures that will drive uptake, the supply measures that will ensure sufficient vehicles are available and the infrastructure measures that will meet different fleet operating requirements.”
The association has asked the Government to undertake a regular review of progress towards any phase out dates, and to only end new hybrid car and van sales if battery electric vehicle supply, affordability and infrastructure is able to meet the requirements of all fleet segments.
The BVRLA has also published new independent tax modelling from Cambridge Econometrics, which shows that the Government will need to invest nearly £100 billion between now and 2050 if it is to have any chance of meeting its phase out target for the new car market.
“The Government is about to set road users some very ambitious and expensive targets for decarbonising their fleets,” said Keaney. “BVRLA members are up for the challenge, but Government needs to show similar ambition and investment in providing a supportive policy environment and an effective tax and incentive regime.
“Zero emission vehicle mandates are not the answer. We need to align our electric vehicle strategy with our closest markets in the EU, where grants and incentives have proved much more successful.”
Keaney has also written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, expressing concern at the lack of fleet sector representation on the Department for Transport’s new Net Zero Transport Board.
“The list of people included on the Board shows a worrying lack of regard and acknowledgment for the views of those that buy vehicles, pay motoring taxes and use roads,” he said.