The electrification of commercial fleets is another important aspect in decarbonising road transport. More company cars are going electric, helped by excellent tax incentives. Energy Saving Trust is currently focused on helping SMEs and micro-businesses as well as the public sector.
Tim Anderson, group head of transport, explains: “Big fleets tend to have dedicated electric vehicle teams, and they may get help from their supply chain. Smaller businesses don’t attract the same levels of support – so we’re working on a range of measures specifically to boost their electric vehicle uptake.”
Energy Saving Trust is working with government departments, including the Ministry of Defence, HMRC and the Home Office, on electrifying their car fleets. Local authorities and blue light services – fire, ambulance, police – are also getting expert advice on their journeys towards electrification.
For Tim, leadership is the key to success. “There’s a sense that the big players – from government down – need to show the way on electric vehicles. When that happens, you create a market with used vehicles hitting the forecourts. That’s when smaller businesses and consumers benefit.”
And it’s not all about electric vehicles – Energy Saving Trust is also committed to encouraging active travel. In Scotland, two ebike programmes we managed on behalf of the Scottish Government generated huge interest in 2020-21. An interest-free loan scheme for buying a new ebike saw a total of 1,148 applications, 478 during the first lockdown in spring, and 333 over the summer. Over £3.4m went to support over 1,000 people.
A second, grant funded scheme helped public sector bodies and local interest groups make ebikes available to key workers, offering £220,000 in total. Ellie Grebenik, senior programme manager, said: “The scheme gave key workers access to ebikes in order to get to work, leading to lots of good news stories about how active travel helped people during the pandemic.”