A new seven-point plan that could help the Government maintain momentum on EV take-up has been published by The UK Electric Fleets Coalition.
The group, which encompasses 28 leading UK businesses, says action is necessary to provide the right economic stimulus and incentives for fleets to go electric, meeting ambitious transport decarbonisation plans.
Its seven-point plan calls on the Government to:
- Ensure the planned zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate is ambitious, simple and well-implemented to encourage automakers to increase supply
- Provide grant certainty for vans – with any changes to the current system announced well in advance
- Make a commitment to maintain favourable Benefit-in-Kind rates for EVs until at least 2026
- Increase the Advisory Electricity Rate in line with increasing energy costs to reimburse electric company car mileage
- Implement a tendering process for the installation of charging infrastructure, which will help businesses offset the cost of upgrades
- Provide continued access for local athorities to the Government’s LEVI charging infrastructure fund until at least 2028
- Introduce ‘a right to plug’, allowing EV drivers to request access to chargers in their local area
The coalition – run by international non-profit Climate Group in partnership with BT Group, LeasePlan, Openreach and Royal Mail – has also written to Prime Minister Liz Truss, urging her to show more support for businesses making the switch to electric as electricity costs continue to rise.
Dominic Phinn, senior policy manager, Climate Group, said: “The UK has shown strong leadership on EVs but we now need to go further.
“We await further details on the Government’s ZEV mandate, and we need the reassurance that the UK’s charging network will be delivered at a local level, to ensure investment is targeted and put to best use. Enshrining a ‘right to plug’ would give EV drivers the power to request charging infrastructure in their local area and be a strong show of support that this government is right behind the businesses already investing in electric road transport.”
Coalition members BT Group, Openreach and Royal Mail – which are among the UK’s biggest fleet operators – emphasised how essential government support is for fleets to make the switch to electric.
Gabrielle Ginér, head of environmental sustainability, BT Group, said: “The transition to low and zero emissions vehicles is a key enabler for us to become a net zero business by the end of March 2031. Together with Openreach, BT Group is leading the way, but to get there, we need to be confident that the supply of vehicles, components and charging points to keep our vans on the road will be sufficient. This needs to be a team effort with the Government removing obstacles and introducing supportive policies which drive the necessary bold action required to transition to a low-carbon economy.”
Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach – which has committed to go electric by 2030 and already has more than 1,500 electric vans on the road – added: “We really want to go further and faster but, like other businesses, we face some roadblocks: a lack of charging infrastructure, the short supply of UK-manufactured vehicles, difficulties getting isolators installed in our engineers’ homes and both a limit to the number of and cuts in grant funding for EVs. This means the Government’s role is crucial if we want to accelerate the UK’s transition to a greener future.”
An industry united on the need for action
Coalition member LeasePlan also spoke out last month after the mini-budget, stressing the need for action on the ZEV mandate and urging for insights on the new rates of company car tax for 2025/26 and beyond in the next Budget.
Last month also saw the BVRLA underscore that low Benefit-in-Kind tax rates remain vital in a fragile market. Its Road to Zero Report Card for 2022 identifes what measures are needed to achieve ambitious targets.
Speaking at the launch of the latest report card, BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “Fleets remain committed to bringing cleaner, greener vehicles to UK roads and are delivering ambitious strategies to make it happen. The Government cannot rest on its laurels by taking that demand for granted. Incentives are making EVs cost effective, with low Benefit-in-Kind rates on electric company cars accelerating exceptional uptake. Those incentives must remain, otherwise the fragile market will stall in the face of severe economic headwinds.”
The association’s #SeeTheBenefit campaign highlights the success of the tax regime for electric cars to date, encouraging members to write to their local MP to educate them on how company car schemes are vital in the move to EVs.