More than a third of SMEs plan to go electric soon, Arval reports
15 September 2020
Author: Sean Keywood
More than a third (37%) of companies with fewer than 100 staff either already operate or plan to adopt EVs within the next three years, compared with less than a quarter (23%) in 2019.
That's according to leasing company Arval's latest Mobility Observatory research, which also found a corresponding figure for plug-in hybrids of 46%, compared with 28% last year, and a figure for conventional hybrids of 45%, up from 37% previously.
Arval's head of Mobility Observatory in the UK Shaun Sadlier attributed the increased interest in electrification to favourable tax rates, and increased model choice.
He said: "We have been saying for some time that 2020 would very much be the year during which electric power takes off for fleets of all sizes and these findings show that SME businesses are part of that trend, which helps to protect the environment and reduce emissions.
"There has been a very noticeable acceleration and the reasons for this are, we believe, quite clear. The tax incentives now available for company car drivers, especially the zero per cent benefit-in-kind rate for the 2020-21 tax year for battery electric vehicles, is a huge attraction.
"Also we are in the process of seeing a dramatic expansion in the choice of EVs available, especially among battery electric vehicles. Over the course of this year, the number of models available will increase but there will also be a better representation across more segments and price points."
Sadlier added that improvements to charging infrastructure were also making EVs more attractive.
He said it was interesting to note that many of Arval's clients were now planning to move straight from conventional petrol or diesel cars to fully electric, rather than go via a hybrid halfway house.
"A couple of years ago, the received wisdom in the market was that both types of hybrid would probably serve as a transitional technology," he said.
"Instead, the perceived hurdles to battery electric adoption have reduced to a point where they can meet the needs of a wide variety of drivers, although companies also recognise that hybrids and plug-in hybrids will have an increasing role to play in tomorrow's fleets."
Reacting to Arval's research, Poppy Welch, head of the joint government and motor industry Go Ultra Low campaign, said: "The recent changes to BIK means electric vehicles provide a great opportunity for companies looking to enhance their green credentials.
"Research carried out by Go Ultra Low found EVs offer a popular solution for businesses looking to reduce their environmental footprint and satisfy their workers' concerns: 70% of employees thought their employers should consider EV company cars as a result of the changes to BIK.
"This tax change provides strong financial and environmental incentives to electrify fleets, in addition to other driver benefits such as savings on fuel, tax and maintenance costs."