£16bn EV investment planned

UK firms are set to invest £15.8bn in electric vehicles over the next 12 months, an increase of 50 per cent in spending in the year to March 2021.

The figure comes from new data released by Centrica Business Solutions and reveals that UK firms spent £10.5bn on electric vehicles (EVs) and on-site charging points during the year to March 2021 but are now planning acceleration of investment in the same areas over the next 12 months.

Two fifths (40 per cent) of those questioned said they had increased the total number of EVs within their fleet between April 2020 and March 2021. Of these businesses, six in ten (58 per cent) cited the need to meet corporate sustainability targets as the biggest driving factor behind their increased adoption of EV, followed by reducing operational disruption caused by low and zero-emission zones (51 per cent) and the attraction of the lower maintenance and whole-life costs offered by EVs (37 per cent).

Barriers to adoption still remain however, with four in ten businesses not increasing EV numbers at all and 10 per cent even decreasing their EV fleet size. Range anxiety was reported as the chief concern for a third (34 per cent) of these firms, followed by the need to prioritise business investment elsewhere during the height of the coronavirus crisis (32 per cent).

Despite this, two-thirds of all companies polled claimed they are well-prepared to operate a fully electric fleet by 2030, when the Government’s ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles comes into effect.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of businesses polled plan to install charging points on their premises to facilitate the uptake of EVs across the next twelve months, although just over a third have already installed this infrastructure. The research also revealed that three in ten firms have already invested in on-site technology capable of generating the energy to charge their fleet of EVs, such as solar panels, while almost half (48 per cent) plan to do this in the future.

Greg McKenna, managing director of Centrica Business Solutions, said: “Despite the disruption of the past year, it’s encouraging to see investment in EVs remain a key priority for many businesses. The fact that firms are planning to increase their spending so dramatically over the next 12 months is proof that more businesses are recognising the advantages of adopting low-emission vehicles, especially as they recover from coronavirus and seek to create sustainable growth.”

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