UK companies will purchase 400,000 electric vehicles (EVs) annually by 2025 - accounting for four-fifths of all EV sales - according to a new pledge by fleet industry body The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA).
Its chief executive, Gerry Keaney, announced its Road-To-Zero plan today, saying that in terms of total fleet, the “industry will own and operate 75% of EVs on the road” – equivalent to approximately 900,000 vehicles.
Fleet passenger car sales have accounted for 50.1% of total registrations year-to-date, while EV market share year-to-date is 5.4%.
Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders doesn’t break down EV sales to fleets, but the BVRLA estimates that its members purchased 80% of all the BEVs sold in the UK in 2019.
Keaney said: “This target requires close co-operation between fleet operators, motor finance providers, energy companies, the government and manufacturers.”
Addressing the audience of today’s BVRLA seminar, transport secretary Grant Shapps commented: “In 2019, we legislated to end our contribution to global warming by 2050, to meet net-zero emissions, becoming the first economy in the world to do so.
"Getting there will be tough. Transport is still the largest transmitter of greenhouse gases, contributing 28% in 2018.
"To meet our net-zero objectives, we need to go further faster than we have ever done before. Throughout 2020, we’ve been working on a new plan, which we expect to announce at the end of the year.”
This plan is expected to detail the government’s ban on internal combustion-engined vehicles. Various dates have been mooted, the soonest being 2030.
Shapps also acknowledged EV infrastructure issues, saying: “I know it’s vital people have confidence in the public charging network. That’s why we’re consulting on improving the experience to make it as easy and hassle-free as possible.”
A number of leading voices from the fleet industry flagged not only infrastructure but also the price of EVs as still being barriers to uptake.
Black Horse and Lex Autolease boss Richard Jones said: “Electric vehicles are still expensive, so while [0%] benefit-in-kind does help for fleets, we’ve got to come back to 'at what point are we going to see a genuine price equivalent between EV and ICE?'. As we get to that point, the advantages for fleets to drive EVs becomes even more prominent.”