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EVs could descend into LPG-style chaos, says Arval

Date: 14 June 2010   |   Author:

Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.

Fleets are increasingly concerned about the viability of electric vehicles, with three-quarters of large businesses worried about the number of recharging points, according to research from leasing and fuel management expert Arval.

Arval head of market analysis and BusinessCar blogger Mike Waters said the industry is uncomfortable with the lack of clear direction from the Government. "The market is asking for clarity in terms of the coalition position in this crucial area both now and over the longer term," said Waters. "There are potentially worrying parallels to the LPG debate in the 1990s; there was a lot of positive noise made about the technology, but no infrastructure was ever fully supported in the UK, unlike in Europe."

Among larger fleets, only 30% of those surveyed had plans to add EVs, compared with 61% opting for hybrids, and for SME operations only 12% are considering EVs compared with 26% looking at hybrids.

Arval suggested uncertainty regarding Government subsidies is driving businesses' worries, with funding for the nationwide EV recharging network under review as part of the coalition's analysis of spending plans.

"The post-election appetite for electric vehicles may have cooled slightly," said Waters. "Businesses need to be encouraged to support alternative technology but won't invest if there is confusion over levels of Government support."