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Report: Fleets could significantly increase UK EV market penetration

Electric Vehicle
Credit: Photo by Marc Heckner on Unsplash

According to a new report from Cornwall Insight and PwC, Leading the charge! Fleet charging – a catalyst for the EV revolution,” UK fleets have the potential to accelerate the electric vehicle (EV) market.

According to the report there are 5.3 million vehicles in fleets — a group of vehicles owned or leased by businesses — on the UK’s roads, meaning that they are a major part of the transport sector.  As the UK moves towards net zero, fleets could be a crucial component, by leading the charge in the electric vehicle roll-out.

Research in the report states that if all 5.3 million fleet vehicles were to generate zero emissions, as much as 30 million tons of CO2 would be eliminated – around 25% of all UK transport emissions.

In evaluating the electrification of the fleet market, the report identifies which segments of the sector will be crucial to leading the EV revolution and outlines a roadmap that fleets may follow as they electrify.

Key findings of the report:

  • Fleet electrification is a critical catalyst that will enable the EV revolution in the UK.
  • Field services, depot-based logistics and leased corporate car fleets are likely to electrify first.
  • Government policy has a critical role to play in enabling the EV fleet transition.
  • The business models of charge point operators need to incorporate some key principles to be successful.
  • Fleet electrification providers will be an attractive opportunity for institutional investors
  • If fleets are to maximize the opportunity of electrification, they need to take some critical and preparatory steps in designing their road map.

Not only do fleets constitute a sizeable proportion of the UK’s transport sector, but they are also responsible for more than half of new car registrations (56%) in 2019; and, with a life cycle of between two to four years, fleet electrification has the potential to accelerate growth in the private, second-hand market. However, choice and affordability are still major barriers.

As the fleet electrifies, this will reinforce the need of EV charging infrastructure throughout the UK. This will ensure ‘range anxiety’ does not stall the electrification of this vital segment and hopefully increase customer engagement.

Daniel Atzori, Research Partner at Cornwall Insight, said, “The electrification of fleets is set to gain momentum, driven both by sustainability commitments and by compelling economic drivers. Fleets are likely to play a crucial role in the upcoming electrification of mobility and therefore in the decarbonization of transport.”

Steve Jennings, PwC UK’s Energy and Utilities leader, commented, “As well as demonstrating the appeal for investors, our report also illustrates how utilities and charge point operators (CPOs) may play a key role in supporting EV fleet adoption, with business models evolving around advisory support to promote charging infrastructure and fine-tune electrification.

“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.”