A New study by Centrica Business Solutions has found that UK companies are planning a large-scale investment in EVs (Electric Vehicles) this year
Author: Lauren Foye, Head of Reports at Zero Carbon Academy
UK Businesses Adopting EVs as Petrol & Diesel Vehicle Sales Deadline Looms
New research from Centrica Business Solutions will provide positive reading for EV manufacturers, with findings suggesting that UK businesses will add 163,000 EVs to their fleets this year alone[i]. This will amount to a 35% increase compared with the 121,000 EVs registered by companies last year. The study, which surveyed 200 UK-based businesses with turnover exceeding £1 million and operating at least one vehicle, noted that spending is also set to increase compared to last year. The research found that businesses spent £11.6 billion on electric vehicles and their supporting infrastructure in 2021. Yet, they are planning to increase this by 15% for 2022, taking the total investment in fleet electrification for the year to £13.6 billion[ii].
Out of the businesses surveyed, 44% said that they had increased the number of EVs in their fleet over the past 12 months, compared to 40% of firms in the previous study carried out a year earlier. When asked what the motivation was behind investment in EV’s, just under two-thirds (59%) said it was meeting sustainability plans and targets, whilst half (49%) said it was to reduce disruption and the cost of low and zero emission zones. Interestingly, 45% stated it was a demand for EVs from employees, followed closely by pressure from customers to be more environmentally friendly (43%).
Figure 1: Top reasons for adopting EVs and how these have changed in the past 12 months
Source: Centrica Business Solutions[iii]
It is also likely that firms are taking decisive action now to convert to EV fleets, well ahead of the UK ban on sales of new ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles from 2030; this also follows recent announcements that the EU will be banning such sales from 2035.
EV adoption growing across industries, but challenges remain
The Centrica research follows several announcements made in the retail space earlier this year, whereby a concerted effort is being made to incorporate electric HGVs into delivery fleets. Supermarket giant Tesco previously launched the first fully electric HGVs in the UK in December 2021, adding two DAF vehicles to make trips to transport goods from a rail freight terminal in Cardiff to the company’s hub in Magor; an estimated 30 miles away[iv]. This has since been followed by e-commerce giant Amazon, which is adding five electric HGVs to its delivery fleet for the first time in the UK. These fully electric vehicles will operate from the business’s fulfilment centres in Tilbury and Milton Keynes and, like Tesco, will replace diesel HGVs. Amazon believes this change will result in up to 100,000 annual road miles being fuelled using renewable electricity rather than diesel, preventing 170 tonnes of CO2e from being emitted. They are the first of nine electric HGVs expected by the end of 2022, joining more than 1,000 electric delivery vans currently on the road in the UK. For in-depth analysis, read more in our blog here.
However, despite the positivity around EV adoption, access to charging and concerns around infrastructure is ever-present. When asked about charging availability, almost two-thirds (63%) of Centrica Business Solutions panel said they were worried about accessing public charging points to keep their fleet moving. In order to address this, nearly half (48%) of firms have installed EV charging points at their premises, and just over a third (36%) plan to invest in on-site charging infrastructure in the next 12 months[v]. Centrica’s research also revealed that two-fifths (40%) of businesses have invested in renewable energy generation technology (such as solar panels) to power their fleets, while 43% plan to do so in the year ahead[vi].
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