More than 100 UK organisations vow to place electric vehicles into fleets

The number of UK organisations that have pledged to ensure that electric vehicles (EVs) account for at least 5% of their vehicle fleet by 2020 has passed a new milestone, after Gatwick Airport and Santander pushed the initiative beyond 100 members.

OVO Energy, Oxford City Council and Swansea University joined the airport and the banking firm in becoming the latest companies to sign up to the Go Ultra Low initiative, a UK-specific campaign to help organisations and motorist understand the cost savings and capabilities of EVs.

Go Ultra Low’s head Poppy Welch said: “The UK Government wants every new car and van in Britain to be ultra-low emission by 2040, and the corporate sector has a huge role to play in achieving this goal. Forward-thinking organisations are well on the road to emission-free and low-cost motoring, taking significant numbers of EVs onto their fleets, learning where they are fit for purpose.

“Go Ultra Low Companies are setting an example for others to follow, dispelling misconceptions around EVs at the same time as helping to improve UK air quality and reduce the country’s carbon footprint.”

Organisations such as the London Fire Brigade and Microsoft UK are already signed up to the initiative, and some firms have pushed beyond the 5% target. For example, new member Santander wants EVs to represent 10% of its 1,400-strong fleet by 2020, and currently operates 57 EVs.

Oxford City Council will also push beyond the 5% target, instead focusing on a 7% goal that will be implemented by the end of the decade.

EVs on the charge

Research from Go Ultra Low claims that 22,480 electric cars were registered across the UK between January and June in 2017, a 14.3% increase on 2016 and up 53.8% on the same period in 2015.

Recent analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) found that EVs will account for more than half of new car sales by 2040, the timeframe for the UK’s ban on new diesel vehicles. BNEF named Norway, the UK and France as nations expected to lead the uptake in EVs through to 2040.

But as the rise of EVs continues, so does the concern that they could still be powered by fossil fuels. New research from Drax could dispel these concerns. The power company found that renewables produced 25% of Britain’s electricity over the second quarter of 2017, representing an important step in the grid’s capacity to deliver clean transport.

Specifically, the study noted that EVs now produce less than half of the CO2/m of the best petrol and diesel cars on the market. For example, producing the electricity to charge a Tesla Model S now requires a carbon intensity of 124g/km driven in the winter, which amounts to half the carbon required in 2012.

Matt Mace

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