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Blog Post 23 June 2021

The road to zero: is your business ready for electric vehicles?

You’ve probably heard about businesses upgrading their fleets to electric vehicles (EVs) in the news recently. It’s certainly one of the key things to consider when creating a roadmap to sustainability as part of decarbonising your business operations.

The move to electric

Under the Climate Change Act, it is a legal requirement in the UK to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Net zero will happen when the amount of carbon we add to the atmosphere is no more than the amount removed. To get there, emissions from homes, transport, agriculture and industry will need to be cut.

Your business can reach net zero by setting long-term carbon reduction goals, which will need to include your fleet, if you have one. In November, the UK Government brought forward a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to 2030, with the sale of hybrid vehicles to be phased out from 2035.

In an effort to aid this transition, almost half of UK businesses are planning to install EV chargepoints this year, according to a poll by Centrica Business Solutions. The research found that companies are planning to invest around £15.8 billion in EVs and on-site chargepoints before March 2022, allowing more capacity for electric vehicles.

Chargepoints and vehicle availability

Has your business installed an EV chargepoint yet? It’s worth thinking about, especially as there’s a scheme to help with the installation cost. Similar to the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, the UK Government offers businesses, organisations, charities and local authorities financial support to install chargepoints at their premises through the Workplace Charging Scheme.

But what about when your fleet of electric vehicles is on the road? An electric vehicle is pretty useless if you can’t charge it; this is where the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funded Agile Streets project can help. The project consortium, of which Energy Saving Trust is a member, will develop a strategy and trial the adoption of reliable and convenient on-street charging infrastructure for UK residents unable to install a home or work chargepoint.

As part of the project, we are:

  • Evaluating and understanding EV user requirements to inform the chargepoint design.
  • Developing messaging, collateral, and a marketing plan.
  • Supporting local authorities delivering local campaigns.
  • Delivering a dissemination event of the learnings.

On average, EV drivers only need to charge their vehicle once a week. Beyond the workplace, you can find public chargepoints through Zap-Map, which currently lists over 24,000 public charging locations (as of May 2021). The number of new chargepoints continues to increase every year, making it easier than ever to charge vehicles across the UK.

If you still have concerns about transitioning, we’ve debunked some of the most common myths to help you make the switch to an electric vehicle. Or, you might find PowermyEV a useful tool for looking at EV options and cost-based parameters. If you need guidance on freight, retrofit and large fleets, head over to our transport hub for more information.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), vehicle manufacturers are making increasingly ambitious electrifications plans, with 90% of them rapidly scaling up production of electric vehicles. This means that both light-duty and heavy-duty vehicle availability is on the rise, with a better choice of different models from manufacturers to suit your needs.

Cleaner air and other benefits

According to our own research, 54% of people are in favour of low emission zones and clean air zones, including London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), Scottish Low Emission Zones and Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone. Electric vehicles are able to travel freely throughout these zones without paying a daily charge.

We also found that 45% of all UK driving licence holders who intend to buy a new vehicle within the next 3 years are now looking to get an electric one. The top motivations to purchase an EV include:

  • reduced fuel costs
  • lower environmental impact
  • improved air quality
  • tax benefits for company cars
  • lower maintenance costs

Testing the waters with a car club

For those businesses operating in a major city, car clubs are a short-term car rental service that allows members to access locally parked cars and pay by the hour or day. This is an alternative model to car ownership that is used privately and by many businesses in London, helping them access electric vans and cars to save money and reduce emissions. Some car clubs offer incentives for joining, including:

  • sustainable travel behaviour
  • benefits for businesses
  • transition to electric vehicles
  • environmental and safety benefits

Next steps

Making your transport more sustainable should be a big part of your sustainability strategy to help your organisation get to net zero and meet carbon reduction commitments. Check out our quick guide to starting your sustainability roadmap or read our tips on engaging your employees with sustainable working practices, including encouraging active travel options for the daily commute.

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Last updated: 23 June 2021