Transport is the second most polluting sector in the world, contributing to a quarter of all CO2 emissions on the planet.  Within the transport industry, roads are responsible for three-quarters of that transport pollution alone. 

But the days for the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) are numbered. Its carbon-fuelled engines will turn no more, at least not after 2030 when the UK government bans the sale of all new petrol and diesel-fuelled vans and cars.  It provides the fleet and road transport sector with an incredible opportunity to reshape its impact on our environment. Instead we will look to renewable energy sources and electric propulsion for our means of transportation in the future. 

At Geotab, we have a relentless focus on helping organisations to help themselves transition to a low carbon future-whether that’s turning to data to enhance vehicle and driver efficiency or examining the case for a transition to a fully-electric fleet.

We’ve just unveiled new research diving deeper into the European fleet market and the nascent opportunities for electrification. As part of this, we analysed 46,000 internet-connected ICE vehicles across 17 countries throughout Europe, including France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the UK. We compared them against their battery electric counterparts and real-world electric vehicle (EV) performance data. 

This data comes from Geotab’s Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment (EVSA): a powerful tool that applies existing fleet telematics data against real-world EV performance data. It creates a blueprint for electrification, and helps our customers understand how the switch to electric can work for them.

Our insights found that a massive 86% of fleet range needs can be satisfied by an EV 98% of the time – and that nearly 60% of analysed European light-duty fleet vehicles could switch to electric today. That would provide financial savings of nearly £218m in the process.

More importantly, looking at the sustainability impact of going electric, the saving per vehicle equates to cutting an average of more than five tonnes of tailpipe carbon emissions per vehicle. In aggregate across all analysed vehicles, that is the equivalent to carbon sequestered by 2.6 million tree seedlings grown for ten years. 

For the second most polluting sector in the world, that’s an incredible opportunity for our industry to embrace. There’s a clear opportunity presented by electric vehicles, helping fleets to achieve their sustainability objectives and create a better world for us all. However, it also demonstrates – particularly here in the UK – the importance of adequate government incentives to accelerate EV adoption at scale. 

We found that despite having the highest share of EVs with high-range capability, Continental Europe outpaces the UK when considering overall cost effectiveness. While the UK has been aggressive in its announced cessation of ICE-based vehicle sales by 2030, its termination of the plug-in car grant earlier this year has demonstrably stifled the economic viability of this transition.

Despite our nation’s lofty goals, there remains a clear need to encourage and accelerate EV adoption, particularly in the midst of the ongoing energy crisis. This transition needs investment and attention – and while there has been a notable acceleration of the Local EV Infrastructure Fund (LEVI) and the Rapid Charging Fund, it remains critical to ensure that electric is a compelling alternative to the status quo. 

The shift to electric is now – let’s help the process by providing incentives to accelerate our own electric fleet futures.

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