UK businesses set to invest almost £16bn in EVs this year

UK businesses are planning to spend almost £16bn on electric vehicles (EVs) this financial year – up 50% on last year’s spending, writes Syntegra Group’s Sarah Gibbons.

A new survey from Centrica Business Solutions polled 200 UK businesses that operate fleets and showed two-thirds of those companies said that they are on track to switch to a fully electric fleet by the time the Government’s ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles comes into effect in 2030.

About 40% of the companies said they had added more EVs to their last year, despite the effects of the COVID lockdowns.

Just 10% had downsized their EV fleet during the 12-month period.

Centrica Business Solutions scaled these findings to cover the entirety of the UK’s private sector, finding that UK firms’ total EV spend in 2020-21 was £10.5bn, and that this figure should exceed £15.8bn for 2021-22. The figure covers pure electric and plug-in hybrid models.

The survey also asked businesses about what was motivating their EV transition. The need to meet corporate sustainability targets was the most common answer. Some businesses were also motivated by the implementation of low and zero emission zones across key routes and by the lower maintenance costs associated with EVs.

“Despite the disruption of the past year, it’s encouraging to see investment in EVs remain a key priority for many businesses,” Centrica Business Solutions’ managing director Greg McKenna said.

“The fact that firms are planning to increase their spending so dramatically over the next 12 months is proof that more businesses are recognising the advantages of adopting low-emission vehicles, especially as they recover from coronavirus and seek to create sustainable growth.

“Now that 2030 is set in stone as the end of new petrol and diesel sales we need to ensure three things to help get us there: sufficient electric vehicles to meet demand, reliable charging infrastructure that’s available to all and a flexible energy system that can deliver green power where it’s needed.”

The findings identified in the UK by Centrica Business Solutions echo those recorded on a more global basis by the Climate Group’s EV100 scheme whose latest annual report revealed that participating businesses collectively rolled out more than 89,000 EVs in 2020.  The Climate Group has forecasted that, if all members fulfil their commitments, they will have a joint roll out of more than 4.8 million EVs by the end of the decade.

Syntegra MD Alan King says: “This is very encouraging news. Changing your fleet to EVs or hybrid technology has a positive impact on a company’s sustainability credentials – it can be implemented without a major overhaul of business practices and infrastructure adaptations.

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