7 Mar 23

Abbott Laboratories switches UK fleet to 100% EV

Global healthcare company, Abbott Laboratories, has announced a commitment to transition all of its 475 company cars in the UK to battery electric models by the end of this year in an acceleration of its decarbonisation plans.

The company says the switch to all electric vehicles has been driven by both environmental and commercial objectives. The company has committed to reduce its absolute Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 30% by the end of 2030, from a 2018 baseline, which is consistent with the goals of the Science Based Targets initiative. Regarding the decarbonisation of the fleet Abbott Laboratories is following a country by country approach, with the UK pioneering in fleet electrification and other countries to follow according to the evolving market dynamics. 

Les Muggeridge, UK Human Resources Director at Abbott Laboratories (pictured above), said: “As a healthcare specialist, we have continually worked to make our fleet as environmentally friendly as possible, simply because it is the right thing to do, looking at the latest science over the years to switch from petrol to diesel, then from diesel to hybrids, and now to EVs.

“This electrification policy also helps us commercially. For example, the NHS is our single biggest customer in the UK and their tenders are scored partially on environmental grounds. Working towards a zero emissions fleet helps us to win contracts.”

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The company’s rapid transition to EVs has been facilitated by the strength of the used car market, where high residual values have allowed for the early termination of petrol and diesel models without a penalty.

“We’ve set ourselves an objective of becoming all-EV next year, something that has been made possible in part by Arval working with us to revise our policy to enable us to remove internal combustion engines and plug-in hybrid models at the earliest opportunity,” said Muggeridge.

“The only potential stumbling block is supply, which is a tricky area for everyone at the moment, but otherwise we are very much on target.”

Driver engagement

Abbott drivers have a free choice of almost any EV available in the UK, so long as it has a minimum range of 270km (170 miles), and they can contribute up to 20% of the lease cost to upgrade their choice.

“Many have chosen to do this, especially in relation to a new 90 car Tesla opportunity that Arval has been able to secure. This is especially attractive because the cars are price protected,” said Christina Harbour, Fleet, Risk and Finance Projects Manager at Abbott.

The Tesla opportunity is based on a batch order for cars that Arval placed to overcome long lead times for new car orders.

EV charging

Harbour added that Abbott had worked with Arval to include the cost of installing a home EV charge point within the monthly lease, and that Abbott had installed extensive charging facilities at most of its UK sites. The company has also run a training course to explain to its drivers the benefits of driving an EV.

The electrification programme has proved so successful that 100% of Abbott’s new car orders are for battery electric models.

Jamie Williams, Head of IBO and Large Corporate Sales at Arval UK, said: “Abbott is a progressive fleet and will probably be one of the first of this size to move to all-EV. They are very much a best practice example to the sector, showing how the advantages of electrification can be accessed to the benefit of an entire business.”

Identity Card

  • Business: Abbott Laboratories UK
  • Industry sector: Multi-national healthcare and medical devices company
  • Location: Maidenhead, UK
  • UK fleet: 475 company cars – 375 EVs, 100 ICE
  • Fleet, Risk and Finance Projects Manager: Christina Harbour

Images: Shutterstock, Arval

Authored by: Jonathan Manning