In the hustle and bustle of the fight to break into the mass market, a number of factors have been overlooked with regards to growth in electric vehicle sales. One such area is business car fleets which do not receive an awful lot of press coverage, although they will play a major role in the future electric vehicle market. The recent Corporate Vehicle Observatory barometer has cast a very interesting light on this particular area of the market and the fact that many businesses are now looking to consider electric vehicles for their long-term fleet use.
If we see an increase in electric car fleets then this will act as a form of promotion and make general motorists more aware of the electric vehicles they see on the road. So what does this recent report suggest?
UK business fleets
The report took in 4,800 interviews with "fleet decision makers" in 16 countries around the world, although for this particular article we will focus upon the reply from UK contributors. One thing that stands out from the initial data is the fact that all sizes of business in the UK are now looking towards more environmentally friendly travel and considering electric vehicles for their future fleet use. This is most certainly a very positive starting point and one which the industry itself can make use of.
The replies were split into businesses with 100 or more employees and those with less than 100 although in reality the feedback was very similar. The data confirms that 61% of companies employing 100 more people are looking to reduce their fuel consumption, 59% already have plans to move to more environmentally friendly travel and 7% have already decided that electric vehicles are for them. As we commented above, the situation is very similar for those with employee numbers under 100.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "If you look at the UK electric vehicle market you will see that many local authorities and councils up and down the country are pushing EVs in their area. We are seeing more and more recharging points introduced, more local authorities using EVs for their own services than ever before and slowly but surely the message does seem to be getting through."
As you might expect, in order to get a greater feel of the larger market, there was some concentration upon companies with 100 or more employees. The survey found that 4% of these companies already have plans to introduce electric vehicles within the next 24 months and a further 14% fully expect to do so although firm plans were not yet in place. You may also be surprised to learn that 18% of businesses surveyed are willing to pay a premium upfront for an electric vehicle fleet in the knowledge that the long-term maintenance and running costs will make them more cost-effective than their petrol counterparts.
This has been one of the hardest factors to get across to the wider motoring public, the fact that while electric vehicles currently demand a premium in the marketplace, even after taking into account financial incentives, there are significant long-term savings available.
Rather surprisingly, when you bear in mind that the business fleet sector is often ignored there seems to be growing appetite for electric vehicles in this particular area of the UK business arena. It will be interesting to see whether we see a follow-through with regards to these plans and aspirations and indeed whether this does signal the start of a new growth phase for UK electric vehicle market.