PM charging BP Pulse

The prime minister tried out the BP Pulse equipment outside 10 Downing Street

Seven major British companies, including BP and operators of some of the largest commercial vehicle fleets in the country, have come together to help accelerate the mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) across the UK.

Working together as the Electric Vehicle Fleet Accelerator (EVFA), the seven companies – 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 electrification targets.

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

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

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

EVFA members believe this electrification of fleet vehicles can have wider benefits beyond their businesses, catalysing the mass adoption of EVs in the UK.

The upgrading of the grid and expansion of national charging networks that will result will build wider confidence in using EVs. And, as fleets and businesses account for 60% of new vehicle registrations, their electrification will also build and drive an active second-hand market – the main vehicle market for most consumers.

If the infrastructure and frameworks are put in place to enable this, the companies believe wider customer demand can shift towards EVs sooner than is currently expected.

The EVFA’s sets out recommendations for action in four key areas:

  • 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;
  • enabling the UK-wide rollout of charging infrastructure by fast-tracking EV charging infrastructure in the planning system, aligning with local authorities to unlock land for charging infrastructure, and setting clear funding frameworks;
  • overcoming demand obstacles by increasing capital support for grid reinforcement costs, introducing minimum standards for reliability, safety and interoperability, and improving access to public charging networks; and
  • expanding the supply of UK-made vehicles by 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.”

Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem CEO, commented: “We welcome this report. The rapid take-up of electric vehicles will be vital if Britain is to hit its climate change targets. We are already accelerating investment in the energy networks that support a step change in charge points. We are reducing costs for installing new charging stations and building a market that will make sure that cars can charge at the cheapest possible time.”

“We look forward to ongoing work with government, businesses – including members of the EV Fleet Accelerator - and the energy networks to ensure we have the energy system we need to support the electric vehicle revolution.”

BP chief executive Bernard Looney 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.

“BP is committed to playing our part. We are growing our BP Pulse charging network across the UK, aiming to double its size by 2030. Working closely with Government and partners, we can support and enable the transformation of transport in the UK.”