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

UK businesses are planning to spend £15.8bn on electric vehicles (EVs) between April 2021 and March 2022, a 50% increase in spending from the previous year.

Centrica is aiming to electrify its own fleet by 2025

Centrica is aiming to electrify its own fleet by 2025

That is according to a new survey from Centrica Business Solutions. The survey polled 200 UK businesses that operate fleets and the findings were published on Wednesday (5 May).

Two-thirds of the companies polled said that they are on track to switch to a fully electric fleet by 2030 – the time at which the UK Government’s ban on new petrol and diesel car sales will come into effect.

Despite Covid-19-related challenges, two-fifths of the companies said they had added more EVs to their fleet between April 2020 and March 2021, with most of these businesses planning further additions this year. Just one in ten firms 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 surpass £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 & 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.”

To McKenna’s last point, a recent study from Policy Exchange revealed that the UK will need to increase the number of EV chargers installed each year fivefold if it is to meet its low-carbon transport goals. Centrica has raised similar concerns through its own research.

EV100

The trends tracked in the UK by Centrica Business Solutions echo those recorded on a more global basis by the Climate Group’s EV100 scheme.

According to the scheme’s latest annual report, partaking 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 collectively roll out more than 4.8 million EVs by the end of the decade.

Sarah George



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