Electric vehicles have been a hot topic in the UK for several years now with Governmental policies being regularly updated in line with the evolving technology and infrastructure. We've analysed the latest news around EVs and considered what the future might hold.
What's the latest news around EVs?
The Prime Minister recently announced that the ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars and vans will be pushed back from 2030 to 2035. Although this move has been welcomed by many smaller businesses that are currently unable to invest in new electric vehicles, there has been backlash from the wider fleet sector and environmentalists.
This decision will relieve the financial pressure on businesses to switch to alternative fuels, but there are concerns that it could have a negative impact in the long run. Companies that have already made a significant investment into EV technology in preparation for the original 2030 goal are understandably frustrated at Rishi Sunak’s latest decision. In addition, the five-year delay to the ICE ban could prevent the UK from reaching its goal of net zero emissions by 2050, angering environmentalists.
The consensus is that the Government should be offering more support to those wishing to switch to electric rather than just moving the deadline. With the various barriers that are in place, some businesses will still struggle to meet the extended deadline, so more needs to be done to encourage fleets to electrify. The delay of this ban could also result in less private investment in the EV infrastructure, creating even more obstacles for drivers considering electric vehicles in the future.
Who's leading the way with EV technology?
Although the ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles has been delayed, many companies are already switching to EVs and are paving the way for others to follow suit. Welch’s Transport has introduced its first electric truck and opened an Urban Consolidation Centre (UCC) near Cambridge. This has a 150kW supercharger which is available for other fleets and the public to use. Evri is also looking to reduce its emissions by trialling two electric HGVs, marking a step in the right direction for fleets.
Other large companies in the UK have committed to electrifying their fleets by 2030 by forming the Electric Vehicle Fleet Accelerator (EVFA). This group includes BP, BT, Direct Line Group, Royal Mail, Scottish Power, Severn Trent, and Tesco which have a collective fleet of around 70,000 vehicles. Their transition to electric will help lead the way for other, smaller businesses to follow.
What does the future look like?
With EV technology and other alternative fuels on the rise, the motor industry will have to evolve in the future. Although our customers are not yet ready to give up their petrol and diesel vehicles, many drivers are starting to consider greener options. It’s been reported that more than half of van drivers plan to switch to EV by 2025 and with other businesses already adopting EV fleets, it’s clear that the future is green.
Nevertheless, EV technology is not perfect and will not be the practical choice for every business. It’s therefore likely that alternative fuels such as hydrogen and HVO will be utilised more over the next few years. However, progress needs to be made to make alternative fuels more accessible to the wider public as this will allow businesses to make the switch sooner.
Matt DoddsWith over 14 years of experience across two of the leading fuel card companies in the UK, Matt Dodds joined RFC Edenred to help lead the development of products to support our customer's move to EV and other alternative fuels, a transition he feels passionately about.