A mixed picture in drive to decarbonise

The BVRLA has launched the 2021 version of its annual Road to Zero Report Card which provides a traffic-light assessment of the decarbonisation trajectories of the UK’s car, van, and truck fleets.

The Road to Zero Report Card measures progress against the vital criteria of battery electric vehicle Supply, Demand, and Infrastructure and this year’s report shows a very mixed picture. 

The picture for cars is mostly encouraging, where a positive outlook for BEV infrastructure and supply achieves an ‘Amber - accelerating’ rating, and surging demand gains a ‘Green – cruising’ score. 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. 

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

The report’s biggest concerns are saved for the HGV market. With the Government poised to issue a 2035-2040 phase-out deadline, the sector receives a blanket ‘Red – parked’ rating. 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 Road to Zero Report Card was compiled by sustainability consultants Ricardo, with contributions from a range of fleets and transport and energy stakeholders. 

See the BVRLA press release issued on 14 September: Gaps appear in the fleet sector’s drive to decarbonise.