Fleet News

Fleets commit to buying British-built EVs with right Government support

BP, BT, Direct Line Group, Royal Mail, ScottishPower, Severn Trent and Tesco have joined forces to create the Electric Vehicle Fleet Accelerator (EVFA) to help increase the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs).

In a report, published today (Thursday, July 29), the seven companies have outlined a series of urgent actions needed from both industry and Government to help businesses make the switch.

The EVFA grew from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Build Back Better Business Council. It brings together CEOs of companies that own and operate some of the largest van fleets in the UK and companies involved with infrastructure, EV charging, retail and insurance and repair.

The EVFA report details how supportive Government policy could help unlock private sector investment of £50 billion in infrastructure and in electric fleets in the UK over the next five years.

If the Government delivers on this agenda, the EVFA members have committed to converting the fleets involved to EVs by 2030 and to buying British - buying 70,000 British-built vans by 2030 or sooner.

“We want to buy British but to do that we need to be confident that the supply of vehicles, components and charging points,” Philip Jansen, BT Group

The report calls on the Government to future-proof electricity network infrastructure, ensuring that price controls and funding measures reflect the scale of the challenge and support levelling up with investment in areas the market doesn’t reach.

It also wants ministers to enable the UK-wide rollout of charging infrastructure by fast-tracking EV charging infrastructure in the planning system, aligning with local authorities to unlock land for charging infrastructure, and setting clear funding frameworks.

In addition, the report recommends increasing capital support for grid reinforcement costs, introducing minimum standards for reliability, safety and interoperability, and improving access to public charging networks.

Furthermore, it is calling on Government to provide strong demand signals to OEMs from fleets, setting increasing requirements for zero-emissions vehicles for manufacturers, and incentivising second hand EV market with VAT exemption.

Bernard Looney, chief executive of BP, said: “Government and businesses working together can act as a catalyst to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles throughout the UK.

“This report from the EVFA highlights the points where Government policy can unlock private sector investment to deliver the necessary charging infrastructure, overcome fleet demand obstacles and create vehicle manufacturing capacity.”

Philip Jansen, chief executive of BT Group, added: “We want to buy British but to do that we need to be confident that the supply of vehicles, components and charging points to keep our vans on the road will be sufficient.

“This needs to be a team effort with Government removing obstacles and helping take this to the next level.”

'Wider benefits' of fleet electrification

The EVFA members believe this electrification of fleet vehicles can have much wider benefits beyond their businesses, catalysing the mass adoption of EVs in the UK.

The upgrading of the grid and expanding national charging networks that will result will build wider confidence in using EVs, the report suggests.

And, as fleets and businesses account for 60% of new vehicle registrations, their electrification will also build and drive an active second-hand market – the main vehicle market for most consumers.

If the infrastructure and frameworks are put in place to enable this, the companies believe wider customer demand can shift towards EVs sooner than is currently expected.

Simon Thompson, CEO of Royal Mail, said: “With the right policy and infrastructure in place, Government and industry can turbo-charge the faster rollout of electric vehicles built in the UK.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the EVFA report and the commitment by the businesses to fully electrify their van fleets by 2030.

“This announcement will be a major boost to British vehicle production,” he said. “The Government is committed to providing the electric charging points and other infrastructure the UK needs as we build back greener.”

Vehicle leasing and fleet management company Zenith says it is seeing unprecedented levels of demand for EVs across our customer base.

Tim Buchan, CEO of Zenith, said: “In June, EVs accounted for 69% of all van orders in our corporate division compared to just 1% in June 2020, so initiatives like this that are aimed at increasing the number of EV vans made in the UK can only be a positive force in meeting the current and future demand, while fast-tracking the UK to more environmentally friendly transport.”

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