We’re often taken to task on electric vehicles along the lines of ‘you back them, but are they really a realistic proposition?’ 

Plugged in Fleets, our collaborative new report with The Climate Group, Cenex and TFL that was released last week attempts to take on the question head-on – and all signs suggest that in the right circumstances EVs can provide a clear benefit for businesses right now. 

Businesses are a good place to start in the roll-out of any new technology – the early computers, on to Macs, i-devices etc. are testament to this. Looking at transport needs, as you really ought to if you’re doing research on vehicles, the top-line stat is compelling: more than half of all new cars in the UK are bought by fleets. 

When you consider that 22 per cent of UK domestic carbon emissions are from transport of which over 90% is on the road, it’s clear that if we are to meet our carbon reduction targets, we must see a big take up of ultra-low emission vehicles in our fleets. 

However ethical their motives, if businesses need to lead, they’re probably going to need the kind of incentives you can sell to boards. Aha – there, we can help too. 

The report, which you can download in full here, by the way, demonstrates the economic and environmental benefits of employing EVs in fleets and provides practical guidance for fleet managers looking to introduce them. 

To trail some of basics here, the study shows that in the right application, EVs save £700 per vehicle per year compared with diesel. At the time of writing, fuel costs are 13p per mile for a diesel car compared to 3p per mile for an electric car. And then you can stack on your company car tax exemption, national insurance, road tax benefits and more. 

Lifetime costs are of course at the heart of this debate – given the relatively high up-front cost of any new innovation when it’s trying to make inroads into the mainstream, it’s the only realistic way. 

Unfamiliarity with the whole life cost (or WLC to those in the biz) of an EV can make their viability seem unlikely. But we strongly believe that through taking time to find the right applications and by understanding the costs associated with an EV overhaul, it’s possible to define the areas where EVs will be the best option. EVs are not a one size fits all solution – fleets should choose vehicles that suit their business needs. 

Ultimately, we hope the report will help fleet decision-makers understand the potential benefits EVs can deliver in the successful running of their business. It won’t happen overnight, but the case is compelling for at very least getting the gears in motion. 

For more info on our low-carbon transport work, visit the website.