Let’s be leaders in green mobility
By David Savage, vice president, UK and Ireland, Geotab
We’re now just eight years out from the sale of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)-based vehicles being banned in the UK. This move, combined with soaring fuel costs and heightened emphasis on net zero and sustainability, means fleet operators are increasingly turning to the electric vehicle (EV) market to get ahead (and make a success) of the biggest transition the automotive industry has ever seen.
The UK is one of the most progressive markets in the world, with the 2030 ICE ban date being five years ahead of the European Union. Despite this, we may be on the road to a rocky transition with a comparatively higher vehicle acquisition cost and the removal of government incentives such as the Plug-In Car Grant (PICG). Not only that, but the RAC recently released a report stating that public rapid charging rates are bringing EV charging costs in-line with their ICE-based counterparts.
The public charging infrastructure is also struggling to keep pace with the demand for EVs. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that the number of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles potentially sharing a standard public charge point deteriorated from 11 to 16 vehicles per charger between 2019 and 2020. But now, only one new charger is being installed for every 52 new electric vehicles registered, with plug-in vehicles now accounting for one in every six new car registrations.
We recently launched a research study, titled Profitable Sustainability: The Potential of European Fleet Electrification, which found that 60% of analysed light-duty European fleet vehicles could be switched to EVs today – and save nearly £218 million over a seven-year service life.
This data comes from Geotab’s Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment (EVSA): a powerful tool that applies existing fleet telematics data to real-world EV performance data to create a blueprint for electrification. It also helps our customers understand how the switch to electric can work for them and their specific situation.
Our research analysed 46,000 internet-connected ICE vehicles across 17 countries throughout Europe, including France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom comparing them against their battery electric counterparts and real-world electric vehicle performance data. According to our findings, 86% of fleet range needs can be covered by an EV 98% of the time – and fleet managers can expect to see savings of £7,960 per vehicle, before any discounts or incentives, just by switching to electric.
According to our findings, 86% of fleet range needs can be covered by an EV 98% of the time
Expected savings per vehicle just by switching to electric
These findings illustrate the clear potential and 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. While the UK has been aggressive in its announced cessation of ICE-based vehicle sales by 2030, its termination of the PICG earlier this year has demonstrably stifled the economic viability of this transition.
Specifically for cost effectiveness, the UK is lagging Continental Europe here. Whilst countries such as Italy, Spain and Germany see EV match rates of around 70% for range capability and economic viability, it’s just 55% here in the UK.
By switching to electric, the potential saving equates to removing more than five tonnes of carbon emissions at the tailpipe per vehicle – just across the vehicles we analysed, that’s the equivalent to carbon sequestered by 2.6 million tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
By switching to electric, the potential saving on emissions equates to the equivalent to carbon sequestered by 2.6 million tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
In a world gripped by climate crisis, it’s imperative we ensure that positive measures – such as green mobility – are encouraged and invested in. The UK is leading the way in the removal of fossil-fuel powered vehicles from our forecourts, but we need to ensure that we’re prepared – and that we’re making the transition as seamless and accessible as it can be.