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Comment: Why the Government must capitalise on EV developments to support UK businesses

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Electric vehicle uptake is on the rise but the Government should capitalise on these promising developments and help businesses looking to introduce EVs into their fleets, says Paul Holland, MD of UK Fuels, Allstar Business Solutions.

Paul Holland, chief operating officer of Allstar parent firm Fleetcor, will host the first webinar

It’s no secret that the global pandemic has made a huge impact on the way we run our lives, and the UK-wide lockdown gave us an unprecedented pause for thought. When many of us were holed away in our homes, we were shown a glimpse of the future when it comes to electric vehicles. CO2 emissions dropped to levels not seen for 100 years. Predominantly, this has been due to a lack of fossil fuels used both on the roads and in the air as travel and traffic grounded to a halt.

This has generated a renewed intensity from British fleets who will choose to go green, with 33,000 pure electric and hybrid cars being registered between April and June. That’s compared with 29,900 diesels, according to official figures.

Clearly then, electric and hybrid vehicles are crucial to the mission of a greener motoring future, and the UK’s car owners, whether private individuals or businesses, are jumping on board. This is further evidenced by the recent news that the UK’s network of rapid charging units has seen a staggering 363% growth in the last five years alone. Together, these figures clearly demonstrate that there has been a great deal of momentum gained in the electric vehicle movement in recent times.

Harnessing the surge in EV interest

The momentum gained in recent months and years is impressive and makes good headway in the Road to Zero movement, which aims to see at least half of new cars as being ultra-low emission by 2030. This has been bolstered by government initiatives such as changes in company car Benefit-in-Kind tax, however it still isn’t enough.

We need the UK government to capitalise on these promising developments and help businesses looking to introduce electric vehicles into their fleets. They should be doing everything possible to ease the vehicle transition for businesses, and primarily, that means ensuring appropriate infrastructure is in place to allow easy charging across the UK. It also means providing sufficient incentives to encourage businesses to switch to EVs, something that is more important than ever as the UK economy has recently entered a recession, and many businesses are already feeling the financial impact of the pandemic.

From our research at Allstar Business Solutions, more than one in four large businesses are planning to add EVs and other alternatively fuelled vehicles to their fleets by 2021. And by doing so, there clearly is a future for low emission, low cost, highly efficient transport for employees, goods and services.

Support from fleet partners

The responsibility for paving the way for the Road to Zero doesn’t just fall on the government, all those in the fleet industry must put in a collective effort to make this a reality. At Allstar, we are making it our mission to support businesses through this adoption by ensuring we provide unique and complete solutions that help standardise payment options across multiple providers. In launching the Allstar One Electric card, we offer a convenient payment solution for businesses, enabling them to keep their existing fleets on the road, while also enabling them to incorporate electric and hybrid vehicles. 

Our multi-branded EV charging network has more than 2,800+ charging points across over 1,100 locations throughout the UK to date. And we make it our promise to continue to grow the electric charging network to ensure all our customers are covered by one card, while having easy access to charging points.

Going green together

It is clear that there is now a tangible shift in attitudes in favour of electric and other alternatively fuelled vehicles. However there is still a long way to go before we as an industry are able to achieve the goal of a true mass expansion of green infrastructure across the country, dramatically reducing emissions from the vehicles already on the UK’s roads, and driving the uptake of zero emission cars, vans and trucks. 

With the right infrastructure in place and initiatives to encourage business owners to make the switch to EV, we can maintain the record-low CO2 emissions seen during lockdown long into the future.

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