Electric Vehicles | U.K. Companies Pledge to Expand EV Fleets

Government offers grants, incentives to businesses wanting greener fleets. 

The number of U.K. companies promising electric vehicles will make up at least 5% of their fleets by 2020 tops 100.

The companies signal their intention by signing up with Go Ultra Low, a consortium of automakers, government and the Society of Manufacturers and Motor Traders formed to promote the benefits, cost savings and capabilities of EVs.

Organizations signing on range from the London Fire Brigade to Microsoft U.K.

Many of the companies have ambitions to exceed the 5% target.

Santander U.K., a bank, operates 57 EVs and wants to increase this to represent 10% of its 1,400-strong fleet by 2020. The Oxford City Council says all-electric vehicles will account for 7% of its fleet by the end of the decade.

Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry Claire Perry says the government backs companies making the switch to low-emissions vehicles through grants and incentives.

Go Ultra Low Head Poppy Welch says the corporate sector has a huge role to play in achieving the U.K. government’s goal of having every new car and van in the region be ultra-low-emissions by 2040.

“Go Ultra Low companies are setting an example for others to follow, dispelling misconceptions around EVs at the same time as helping to improve U.K. air quality and reduce the country’s carbon footprint,” Welch says in a statement.

A survey of U.K. company car drivers commissioned by Go Ultra Low last November found almost 700,000 U.K. motorists would join the EV revolution, if they were given the opportunity by their employers. It also found only 25% of businesses offered electric company cars to employees.

U.K. sales of EVs rose 14.3% in first-half 2017 to 22,480 units.

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