Fleets are an essential part of the transport industry, with approximately 5mn fleet vehicles on Great Britain’s roads. However, recent research from Pixie Energy, a subsidiary of Cornwall Insight Group, showcased in their latest insight paper Arming the Fleet – accelerating businesses scale adoption of EVs, reveals a general absence of clear, direct policy for encouraging fleets to adopt electric vehicles (EVs).
Not only are fleets not being considered adequately in the current EV debate, but there is also a gap that needs to be bridged between the fleet industry and the power sector to build mutual understanding of key objectives and opportunities for collaboration. These challenges will need to be overcome before this vital sector of the transport industry adopts EVs on a larger scale.
To combat these challenges, and to be able to benefit from the opportunities fleet electrification presents, the insight paper recommends:
- Driving cross-sector engagement through the creation of a forum
- Taking simple, no regrets, but effective policy action now
- Building innovation bridges
Tom Lusher, Analyst at Pixie Energy, said: “The momentum for electrifying road transport is growing with Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) expected to dominate as we head towards 2040. Early electrification of the fleet network could accelerate the achievement of the government’s objectives.
“However, the EV policy debate thus far has paid inadequate attention to the interest of the fleet industry, with a lack of a clear policy and direction directly related to how fleets are going to be electrified. This is hindering fleet managers achieving large-scale BEV adoption. This is further exacerbated by the understandable but limited engagement between the fleet industry and the power sector.
“For the fleet industry to be able to roll-out EVs effectively there needs to be greater engagement between all stakeholders across the power sector and fleet managers. By allowing a broader conversation around EVs that spans the two industries, they will be able to identify the challenges facing fleet electrification and cooperate on innovations designed to combat them.
“The opportunities here for positive impacts on both sectors are significant. There is excellent potential for fleets to capitalise on EVs and the supporting infrastructural and regulatory and policy architecture being built around them. There are strong possibilities for fleet managers to derive financial benefits to their organisation, as well as benefits to the power system. However, to do this, fleet managers need to know about the relevant developments first.
“There is an opportunity for fleets to move electric vehicles from an innovative niche to a serious business proposition and realise significant environmental and financial benefits. If properly supported, fleets could lead the way on EV rollout but to be able to do this, there needs to be a fundamental shift in the thinking of all parties involved.”