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Collaboration to accelerate electrification of transport in the UK
Seven major British companies, including the operators of some of the largest commercial vehicle fleets in the country – BP, BT, Direct Line Group, Royal Mail, ScottishPower, Severn Trent and Tesco – have come together to help accelerate the mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) across the UK.
Working together as the Electric Vehicle Fleet Accelerator (EVFA), the companies have published a report in which they outline a series of urgent actions needed from both industry and UK government to deliver EV targets.
The report details how supportive government policy could help unlock private sector investment of £50bn in infrastructure and in electric fleets in the UK over the next five years. If the government delivers on this agenda, the EVFA members have committed to converting the fleets involved to EVs by 2030 and to buying 70,000 British-built vans by 2030 or sooner. They hope this clear statement of intent will act as a stimulus and help spur the investment decisions needed to develop EV van manufacturing in the UK.
The EVFA members believe the electrification of fleet vehicles can have much wider benefits beyond their businesses, catalysing the mass adoption of EVs in the UK. The upgrading of the grid and expanding national charging networks that will result will build wider confidence in using EVs, they say. And, as fleets and businesses account for 60% of new vehicle registrations, their electrification will also build and drive an active second-hand market – the main vehicle market for most consumers. If the infrastructure and frameworks are put in place to enable this, the companies believe wider customer demand can shift towards EVs sooner than is currently expected.
The report focuses on four key areas:
- Future-proofing the electricity network infrastructure – ensuring that price controls and funding measures reflect the scale of the challenge, the need to invest in the network ahead of need, and support levelling up with investment in areas the market doesn’t reach.
- Enabling the UK-wide rollout of charging infrastructure – fast-tracking EV charging infrastructure in the planning system, aligning with local authorities to unlock land for charging infrastructure, and setting clear funding frameworks.
- Overcoming demand obstacles – increasing capital support for grid reinforcement costs, introducing minimum standards for reliability, safety and interoperability, and improving access to public charging networks.
- Expanding the supply of UK-made vehicles – providing strong demand signals to OEMs from fleets, setting increasing requirements for zero-emissions vehicles for manufacturers, and incentivising second hand EV market with VAT exemption.