Alternatively fuelled vehicles, such as electric or hybrid cars are becoming increasingly popular. The UK government is investing heavily to support the greater uptake of these vehicles, as a route to emission reduction. BVRLA members’ fleets are already 6% electric, and the association has pledged to increase this rapidly by 2025 if the government can match their ambition with the necessary infrastructure and tax support.
The Government is committed to the pursuit of cleaner road transport and to putting the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacture of zero emission vehicles.
This builds on the Government’s 2017 Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations (‘the NO2 Plan’) and its Clean Growth Strategy which both seek to cut exposure to air pollutants, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy security.
Road to Zero Strategy July 2018
In July 2018 the Government launched it’s ‘Road to Zero Strategy’. The Strategy, which is built around a mission to see all new cars and vans being zero emission by 2040, looks to industry to help realise these ambitions. As the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, explained at the strategy’s launch: “We expect this transition to be industry and consumer led, supported in the coming years by the measures set out in this strategy. We will review progress by 2025 and consider what interventions are required if not enough progress is being made.”
The Road to Zero Strategy also includes details of:
- £400 million investment into charging infrastructure
- A commitment to providing a uniform method of accessing public charge points
- A commitment to take steps to accelerate the adoption of fuel-efficient motoring by company car drivers, businesses operating fleets, and private motorists
Zero Emission Vehicle Summit September 2018
Later in 2018 the Government hosted the inaugural international Zero Emission Vehicle Summit in Birmingham.
The Summit, which was opened by the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, was attended by over 4,000 people including speakers from vehicle manufacturing, industry bodies, environmental organisations and other specialists from across automotive – all keen to play a role in driving cleaner growth.
The Prime Minister also used the Summit to outline her ambitions for the UK to become a global leader in the manufacture and adoption of electric vehicles.
The BVRLA participated in a panel debate at the Summit to highlight the key role that vehicle rental and leasing can play in driving faster uptake of plug-in vehicles.
Read more about the BVRLA's appearance at the Zero Emission Vehicle Summit:
Plug in Car Grant cut October 2018
The Department for Transport announced it would be ending the Plug in Car Grant for hybrids and reduce it by £1000 for pure electric models in October 2018. The announcment was met with widespread disapproval across the automotive industry.
The UK Plug in Car Grant previously offered a discount on a selection of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs). However, reforms introduced in 2018 completely ended the grant for PHEVs, and cut the maximum grant available for an EV from £4,500 to £3,500.
The grant, which has been in place since 2011, reduced the list price of an EV to encourage the greater take-up of these vehicles, with a knock on impact of reducing emissions and improving air quality.
Commenting on the announcement, which took effect from November 9th 2018, BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said:
“The Government’s decision to cut the plug-in grant just months after launching the Road to Zero strategy is unbelievably short-sighted and will only serve to stifle the uptake of electric vehicles.
“This year we have already seen a significant increase in the uptake of electric vehicles. There is clearly momentum for change amongst motorists, but this has always been dependent on them being able to afford to choose an electric vehicle. The plug-in grant has been essential in supporting this growth."
Read more about the BVRLA's response to the Plug in Car Grant cuts:
BVRLA members are responsible for 1-in-8 cars, 1-in-5 vans and 1-in-5 trucks on UK roads, totalling almost five million vehicles. The rental and leasing industry therefore has a significant role to play in the transport ecosystem. Furthermore, due to the number of vehicles they purchase and the frequency of fleet replacement cycles, BVRLA members will be a key driver on the journey to zero emissions.
The Government's ‘Road to Zero’ strategy clearly recognises the vital role industry must play in order to secure this transition. The BVRLA has been actively engaging with decision makers, using a Parliamentary Reception in July 2018 to launch its 'Plug-in-Pledge’ which would see its members’ combined plug-in vehicle fleet size surge from 50,000 today to 720,000 by 2025. By that time, vehicle rental and leasing companies would be buying 300,000 plug-in vehicles per year. This represents an increase in the industry’s share of annual new plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicle registrations from 36% to 60%. The pledge is therefore a clear demonstration of the vehicle rental and leasing industry’s commitment to playing a vital role in delivering the Government’s ultra-low emission goal.
The majority of the fleet referenced in the ‘Plug-in-Pledge’ would be company cars. The BVRLA forecasts this portion of its member fleet would be responsible for 200,000 annual registrations by 2025, with a total fleet of 430,000 plug-in company cars. The remaining 100,000 annual new plug-in vehicle registrations promised by 2025 would be a combination of rental and personal lease or Motability cars, and vans. This portion of the BVRLA membership would have 290,000 plug-in vehicles on fleet by 2025.
To further support the ‘Plug-in Pledge’ the BVRLA has been actively campaigning to leverage the company car tax regime to incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles.
In July 2018 the BVRLA launched an ambitious ‘Plug-in Pledge’ that will see its members’ combined plug-in vehicle fleet size surge from 50,000 today to 720,000 by 2025.
By that time, vehicle rental and leasing companies will be buying 300,000 plug-in vehicles per year. This represents an increase in the industry’s share of annual new plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicle registrations from 36% to 60%.
The majority of this fleet will be company cars. The BVRLA is pledging that this portion of its member fleet will be responsible for 200,000 annual registrations by 2025, with a total fleet of 430,000 plug-in company cars.
The remaining 100,000 annual new plug-in vehicle registrations in 2025 will be a combination of rental and personal lease/Motability cars, and vans. This portion of the BVRLA membership will have 290,000 plug-in vehicles on fleet by 2025.
In making this pledge, the BVRLA has used its own member statistics and combined it with modelling and forecast data from ACEA and Frost & Sullivan. We have used their ‘Optimistic’ forecast which shows zero growth in new car registrations from 2018-2025, and annual growth in EV plug-in car registrations of 25% in 2018, 40% from 2019-2022 and 30% from 2023-2025.
The BVRLA has also predicted a small growth in its leasing member share of the overall UK company car market between 2018 and 2025 (55% rising to 62%)
To ensure that fleets can achieve this bold ‘Plug-in Pledge’ the association is calling on the Government to:
- Bring forward plug-in company car tax incentives now and not in 2020
- Provide a five-year commitment on plug-in vehicle incentives
- Offer more infrastructure support for businesses looking to deploy large plug-in fleets