20 Jun 19

UK Government failing on EV support, says BVRLA


The UK’s car leasing association has called on the British Government to implement dramatic action in three areas to support the uptake of electric vehicles.

The British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA), whose members own or manage almost 5 million cars and vans, says the Government is failing in three key areas:

  1. Tax policy – a lack of clarity over the future taxation of electric cars is holding back fleet buyers from committing to battery power, says the BVRLA.
  2. Charging infrastructure – the lack of charge points in some areas and the difficulty that drivers face in trying to use charge points from different networks, means range anxiety is still a challenge. This underlines an issue raised earlier this week by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who said recharging infrastructure was merely keeping pace with demand, when what is needed is “an electric revolution”.
  3. Leading by example – only 2% of the Government’s own fleet are ultra-low emission vehicles, despite official targets to make 25% of its car fleet ULEV by 2022.

Gerry Keaney, Chief Executive of the BVRLA, said: “Fleets across the UK have committed to this transition and are leading the zero-emission vehicle surge. Our research has found that they are desperate for clarity on future taxation and incentives, want better access to public charging and are frustrated at lead-times of over 12 months for the most popular EVs.”

Overall, the BVRLA judges the UK Government’s EV strategy to be ‘behind schedule’ in its new Road to Zero Report Card, produced by Ricardo, the sustainability consultancy, and has called for:

  • A five-year roadmap for motoring taxes and EV incentives.
  • A national quota for minimum EV registrations that keeps increasing until 2030.
  • Forcing all public charge points to allow universal access and payment.

“Fleets are already spending billions of pounds on electric vehicles and can drive an even faster transition to zero emission motoring with more government support,” added Keaney.

Clean Air Zones delay

Two British cities this week provided an unwelcome example of the confusion facing green minded fleets. Leeds and Birmingham announced plans to postpone the introduction of clean air zones, which were due to start in January 2020, because of a delay in in the delivery of the digital vehicle checker tool. The vehicle checker is being supplied by the central Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU).

James Lewis, Deputy Leader for Leeds City Council, said: “Many local businesses have invested both time and money into ensuring their own preparedness for January. The Government now needs to outline new timescales that they are confident can be delivered in order to give residents and businesses across the country clarity and certainty about the future of these schemes.”

In the UK’s second largest city, Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said the delay:“Means we are unable to go ahead with our Clean Air Zone in January as planned, as this would be completely unfair on residents, businesses and visitors to the city who would only have a matter of weeks, if not days, to make key choices about their travel behaviour or upgrade their vehicles. This is simply unacceptable.”

Authored by: Jonathan Manning