Major companies join forces to accelerate electric transport in UK

Seven major UK companies have pledged to work together with Government to remove obstacles to the electrification of the UK’s transport system.

The companies, which include bp, BT, Direct Line Group, Royal Mail, ScottishPower, Severn Trent and Tesco, have published a report outlining a series of urgent actions needed from both industry and Government to deliver the targets.

The Group, known as the Electric Vehicle Fleet Accelerator (EVFA), grew rom Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Build Back Better Business Council. It brings together CEOs of companies that own and operate some of the largest van fleets in the UK and companies involved with infrastructure, EV charging, retail and insurance and repair.

The report details how supportive Government policy could help unlock private sector investment of £50 billion in infrastructure and in electric fleets in the UK over the next five years.

If the Government delivers on this agenda, the EVFA members have committed to converting the fleets involved to electric vehicles by 2030 and to buying British – buying 70,000 British-built vans by 2030 or sooner.

They hope this clear statement of intent will act as a stimulus and help spur the investment decisions needed to develop EV van manufacturing in the UK.

The recommendations include future-proofing the electricity network infrastructure, ensuring that price controls and funding measures reflect the scale of the challenge, the need to invest in the network ahead of need, and support levelling up with investment in areas the market doesn’t reach.

It also calls for Government to enable the UK-wide rollout of charging infrastructure, with fast-tracking EV charging infrastructure, aligning with local authorities to unlock land for charging infrastructure, and setting clear funding frameworks.

In addition, the Group recommends increasing capital support for grid reinforcement costs, introducing minimum standards for reliability, safety and interoperability, and improving access to public charging networks.

It also wants to see Government providing strong demand signals to OEMs from fleets, setting increasing requirements for zero-emissions vehicles for manufacturers, and incentivising second hand EV market with VAT exemption.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I wholeheartedly welcome this commitment by leading employers to fully electrify their van fleets by 2030. This announcement will be a major boost to British vehicle production.

“The Government is committed to providing the electric charging points and other infrastructure the UK needs as we build back greener.”

Bernard Looney, chief executive of bp, added: “Government and businesses working together can act as a catalyst to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles throughout the UK. This report from the EVFA highlights the points where Government policy can unlock private sector investment to deliver the necessary charging infrastructure, overcome fleet demand obstacles and create vehicle manufacturing capacity.”

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