Businesses call for Government leadership in EV roll out

The UK Electric Fleets Coalition, run by the international non-profit Climate Group, has called on the Government to show leadership on issues affecting the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

The Coalition is a leadership coalition that advocates for accelerating the transition to electric vehicles in the UK and to coincide with Clean Air Day today (17 June) it has put together a policy paper which represents the views of over 30 UK businesses who advocate for accelerating the switch to EVs.

The 32 businesses that have signed the document collectively operate over 800,000 cars and vans in the UK. 25 have committed to switch their fleets to electric by 2030 internationally through the Climate Group’s EV100 campaign. 

The signatories are: BT, Centrica, Dixons Carphone, DPD, E.ON, Engie, Fleet Alliance, Ground Control, Halfords, IKEA, LeasePlan, Lex Autolease, Lime, Mawdsleys, Mitie, NatWest Group, Openreach, OVO, Restore plc, Royal Mail, Schneider Electric, Scottish Power, Severn Trent, Sky, SSE, Stuart, Tarmac, Tusker, Uber, Unilever, Willmott Dixon and Zurich.

The group includes five of the top six largest fleets operating in the UK. Businesses are fundamental to the transition to a zero-carbon transport system due to their dominance of the new vehicle market: in 2020, 54% of new cars in the UK were acquired by businesses.[1]

Helen Clarkson, CEO of Climate Group said: “Having set a 2030 phase out date for petrol and diesel last year, the Government must continue to be a leader in this field. This was only the first step – we need to see the commitment backed up by in-depth policy and joined-up thinking across Government.”

The policy paper is available to download. Key areas explored include:

  • Zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate – A ZEV mandate is a supply-focused policy that requires a gradually rising percentage of vehicles sold by auto manufacturers to be zero-emission. This would give auto manufacturers clarity and an incentive, as well as giving fleets owners and other buyers confidence to commit to ambitious ZEV targets.
  • Vehicle CO2 regulations competitive with the EU – EU emission standards have been instrumental in driving vehicle efficiency and encouraging EV supply and should be maintained in UK law. This will complement a ZEV mandate to achieve mass uptake of ZEVs.
  • Grant certainty – Grants should accurately reflect the cost-gap between internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and ZEVs until price parity is reached. The price parity of zero emission vans remains behind that of cars and a longer tapering off period for grant support is required until costs are competitive with their petrol and diesel counterparts. Customers and fleet operators also need greater, long term grant certainty so they can plan accordingly.
  • 0% VAT on second-hand ZEVs – Most incentives are aimed at the new car market, excluding individuals from the EV transition. Introducing 0% VAT for second-hand vehicles would be a simple and effective way of ensuring a wider population have access to ZEVs.
  • Tendering for chargepoints & upgrades to grid connections – Installing chargepoints represents significant upfront costs, which is multiplied many times over if there is need for upgrades to grid capacity. A government-led tendering programme for chargepoints and strategic grid connections would help to overcome this.
  • ‘Right to plug’ – Guarantee the ‘right to plug’ to all those using an electric vehicle through requiring local authorities to install in areas where there is proven demand.
  • Interoperability – National charging infrastructure has grown organically, with few guiding rules or principles on interoperability. This has led to a confusing picture with many different operators and schemes, which discourages both consumers and fleet drivers and leads to frustration with existing EV drivers.

A full list of the policies suggested can be found in the policy document.

This work is led by the Climate Group and supported by a steering group of businesses: BT, LeasePlan, Lex Autolease, Openreach, and Royal Mail.

Image: Shutterstock.

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