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‘Dangerous gaps’ in fleet sector’s road to zero, BVRLA reveals

Dangerous gaps have appeared in the fleet market’s road to zero, with some sectors accelerating towards the petrol and diesel phase-out and others stuck at a red signal.

The BVRLA’s latest Road to Zero Report Card provides a traffic-light assessment of the decarbonisation trajectories of the UK’s car, van and truck fleets – and reveals ‘dangerous gaps’

The BVRLA’s latest Road to Zero Report Card provides a traffic-light assessment of the decarbonisation trajectories of the UK’s car, van and truck fleets – and reveals a very different picture.

The research, compiled by sustainability consultants Ricardo, measures progress against the vital criteria of supply, demand and infrastructure for battery electric vehicles.

It’s a mostly encouraging picture for cars – the positive outlook for BEV infrastructure and supply achieves an ‘Amber – accelerating’ rating, while surging demand gains a ‘Green – cruising’ score. The BVRLA adds that most fleet car segments are embracing BEVs with enthusiasm, driven by a favourable tax regime, a raft of new models and significant growth in the charging network.

But it’s a very different story for the van fleet sector. BEV infrastructure, supply and demand all get an ‘Amber – brakes-on’ assessment. This shows the growing concerns about a shortage of suitable electric vans for many key use case – along with issues with public charging infrastructure and insufficient government support in the form of grants and tax incentives.

Worse still is the picture for the HGV market. With the Government poised to issue a 2035-2040 phase-out deadline, the sector receives a blanket ‘Red – parked’ rating. And the BVRLA warns there is precious little momentum in this fleet segment, with no phase-out delivery plan, no technology roadmap, no mainstream vehicles and no charging infrastructure.

“Every fleet is on the ‘road to zero’, but the task ahead is easier for some than others,” said BVRLA chief executive, Gerry Keaney.

“There are ‘sweet spots’ where the tax incentives, total cost of ownership and typical journey patterns make going zero emission an attractive choice.

“Elsewhere, progress is much slower as fleets grapple with a shortage of appropriate vehicles and eye-watering charging infrastructure costs.”

The BVRLA’s latest Fleet Sustainability credentials also reveals vast differences in EV take-up among the fleet segments.

Less than 1% (0.7%) of the total UK car parc is currently zero emission, whereas 22% of salary sacrifice cars, 8% of company cars and 7% of car club cars are BEVs. But within the car rental sector, its BEV fleet currently stands at just 0.6% – showing the particular challenges it’s facing.

It’s a similar picture on electric vans. A total of 1% of the current leased LCV market is made up of battery electric vans, which in turn make up just 0.4% of the wider van parc. Again, the rental market is behind, with just 0.1% of its fleet battery electric.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

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