12 mar 21

New BP report exposes fleet manager worries about EVs

New fleet-specific research by energy giant BP has found a two-speed market, with accelerating momentum among some UK fleets for the transition to electric vehicles, but a stubborn minority of fleets still waiting for solutions to significant obstacles.

The Future of Fleet study found that more than half of fleets (52%) have already started to operate EVs, while 54% of those who have not yet adopted zero emission motoring will do so in the next five years.

The UK Government plans to ban the sale of ICE vehicles in 2030, and hybrid and plug-in cars and vans by 2035.

Reasons to go green

Green commitments have proved to be the most compelling reason among fleets to start using EVs, according to BP, with 71% of fleet managers saying they switched to battery power because of environmental issues. The desire to be seen to be green also lies behind the 39% of fleets who have started their transition from diesel to electricity to “improve the reputation and CSR of the fleet.”

But the cost saving arguments in favour of EVs, based on tax incentives, subsidies and lower day-to-day running costs have yet to persuade the majority of fleet managers, with only 35% saying they switched to EVs for financial benefits.

Adrian Brabazon, UK fleet sales manager, BP Fleet Solutions, said: “With electric vehicles moving further and further up the agenda, fleet managers will need to make vital decisions on how, why, and when to make the switch - sooner rather than later. The needs of each driver and vehicle will be different, so while some fleets might be ready now, others need time and support to enable an effective transition.”

Significant minority is slow to act

BP’s Future of Fleet identified a half-hearted sector of end user fleets that still see too many operational challenges in switching from internal combustion engines to electric motors. It found that 27% of fleets can’t afford the upfront costs of mass electrification, 25% have journey profiles incompatible with the range of EVs, and 24% cannot afford the downtime of EV charging, compared to the speedy refuelling of petrol and diesel. Moreover, almost a quarter (24%) said their drivers did not have the opportunity to install a charger at home.

As a result, 56% of fleet decision makers want to see a more accessible charging infrastructure to persuade them to transition completely to EVs.

Matteo de Renzi, CEO of bp pulse, said: “We want to ensure that our fleet customers are able to transition to net zero emissions, which means having the confidence to drive wherever they need to, whenever they need to. So in addition to our expansive rapid charging network, we are developing the UK’s largest nationwide network of ultra-fast chargers, with an aim of installing 700 by 2025 and 1,400 by 2030.”

However, BP also concedes that fleets switching to EVs to deliver fuel cost savings, will best achieve these economies by charging vehicles at home overnight to take advantage of lower electricity tariffs.

Authored by: Jonathan Manning