Fleets instrumental in wider shift to clean road transport, global research finds
The majority of buses and light duty fleet vehicles in leading markets could switch to EVs by 2030, cumulatively saving close to the annual emissions of India.
The research, revealed by the Climate Group and carried out with global sustainability consultancy Systemiq, found such vehicles account for a fifth (21%) of vehicles on the road, yet contribute to a quarter (26%) of road transport emissions.
While fleet vehicles may be at the forefront of electrification in markets such as the UK, the analysis finds that they are being left behind on a global level – the majority of EVs driven today are privately owned passenger vehicles, while just 11% are part of fleets.
Switching these vehicles to EVs would bring significant carbon cuts – cumulatively avoiding over 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (3.1 GT CO2e) by 2030, when compared to the BloombergNEF Electric Vehicle Outlook 2020. This emissions saving is similar to the current annual contribution of India, the world’s third highest emitter.
But it would also have wider global impacts. These include increasing the size of the used electric vehicle market by 40%; adding four million public charging units; driving down battery costs by 14%; and avoiding an estimated 120,000 premature deaths from transport-related pollution.
Helen Clarkson, CEO of Climate Group, said: “Businesses, governments and public sector organisations have about half a billion light duty vehicles in their fleets around the world. By switching these vehicles to electric, these organisations can use their purchasing power to drive us to a better future. Not only can fleets electrify faster, but crucially it would help to bring about a wider shift to clean road transport by supercharging demand, boosting infrastructure and growing the used EV market, making them more readily available and affordable for consumers.”
However, the right commitments, policy support and additional investment will be required to make faster fleet electrification a reality, providing clear recommendations for governments, investors and businesses.
Clarkson added: “As we head towards COP26, we need the right commitments, policy support and investment to make faster fleet electrification a reality.”
The Climate Group added that by committing to EVs today, businesses and governments that own and operate vehicles can send a demand signal to help trigger investments in increased production capacity from automotive manufacturers and within the battery value chain.
For example, the EV100 initiative, led by the Climate Group, has led to commitments from more than 100 corporates running some of the world’s largest fleets, including BT Group, LeasePlan and Siemens, to transition more than 5 million light duty vehicles to electric by 2030.
COP26 president-designate Alok Sharma said: “Reaching net zero by the middle of the century requires a step change across all sectors. And switching to electric vehicles is a crucial part of the action we need to take to hit this goal and keep the target of limiting global temperature rise by 1.5°C alive. I am encouraged by research such as this which shows that change is within reach. We must all work together ahead of COP26, and beyond, if we are to secure a greener future.”
To access the Climate Group’s research, click here.