Fleet focus required as local authorities step up their EV plans

Half of all local authorities now have an electric vehicle charging strategy in place, but only a tiny proportion are talking to fleets about their needs. The latest Fleet Friendly Charging Index from the BVRLA shows that 49% of local authorities have a plan in place, up from 37% last year.

Those with plans are expected to be in the majority by the end of 2024. This is due to more engagement with the LEVI programme, which is making funding available to support local infrastructure plans. The funding is enabling experts to be hired, teams to be set up, and projects to get off the ground.

Although momentum is growing in the number of local authorities developing EV strategies, a major disconnect remains between those teams and the fleet sector. Evidence of fleet engagement has improved year on year to reach 38% of local authorities (up from 34%). When looking at what is considered to be significant engagement with fleets, that figure plummets to just 5%.

Gerry Keaney, BVRLA Chief Executive said: “It is good to see progress across the UK but we are heading towards a dead end. Fleets represent the majority of miles driven across the UK. Failing to meet their needs will lead to ineffective infrastructure. Monumental sums are being invested to deliver EV plans in all regions and risk being wasted if the views of our biggest road users are not part of the conversation from day one.”

The biggest annual uplift shown by the Fleet Friendly Charging Index is in the number of local authorities now listing a dedicated EV contact. New teams and roles have been created and now mean that 57% of local authorities have someone responsible for taking EV plans through from development into delivery.

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Armed with the results of the Index, the BVRLA is forging plans to access those contacts. There is a clear need to communicate where the fleet sector is ready and waiting to collaborate. Part of that work aligned with the launch of the latest results, with the association hosting an event with Local Authority representatives from across the country this morning (Thursday 14 March). In conjunction with the Energy Savings Trust and Novuna Vehicle Solutions, the ‘Charge Forward’ event was designed to supercharge local authorities' understanding of EV charging infrastructure and how to acknowledge fleet needs.

Fleet professionals are being encouraged to explore the Fleet Friendly Charging Index to see how progress in their region is tracking against the national picture. Where available, contact details for each authority are visible, allowing conversations to be started and introductions to be made. Industry colleagues or stakeholders wishing to engage with their local authority can contact [email protected] for any guidance and materials.