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Big UK companies agree EVs are future direction of travel

07 July 2011
Big UK companies agree EVs are future direction of travel

LONDON: On July 6, along with our partners Energy Saving Trust, Cenex, TNT and Transport for London, The Climate Group hosted a closed roundtable on fleet electrification at the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation in London.

Fleet owners, vehicle manufacturers, utilities, financial institutions and lease companies gathered to discuss how to form a UK fleet buying consortium for electric drive vehicles.

The main focus of the agenda was to give a background on the event organizing team's position, and to trigger discussion on procurement of significant numbers of electric vehicles for fleets and how to use them effectively within businesses compared with existing products.

The dialogue highlighted how participants feel that they would greatly benefit from the knowledge, data sharing and fleet analysis that a consortium would provide.

One of the larger fleet owners at the table said: “The opportunity for procuring electric vehicles in fleets already exists, but we are only taking small steps. This consortium is a great way of making these early initiatives we are all undertaking scalable quickly”.

Several presentations set the scene, but the main activities of the day centered on:

  • the concept of a fleet buying consortium
  • the benefits to fleet owners of being involved in such initiatives
  • how the fleet buying consortium would work for the businesses present

There was strong support for the continuation of work towards a successful UK based EV fleet buying consortium, and the next steps were agreed to involve:

  • pilot fleet analysis work to prove methodology
  • formal consortium members agreement
  • detailed analysis of participating members fleets based on their individual drivers, needs and organizational priorities
  • analysis of combined benefits
  • progress to vehicle purchase for mainstream fleet usage but in ‘sweet spot’ fleet operations
The detailed analysis will enable each operator to identify where EVs will fit best and work up a business case for fleet electrification, including residual values, duty cycle influence and other options that could help to achieve competitive total cost ownership values for plug in electric vehicles

It will also identify potential categories where EVs could achieve cost parity with internal combustion engine vehicles and find out where EVs could work best within fleets.

Robin Haycock, Head of Transport, The Climate group said: “Fleets are the big opportunity of the moment and fit in to the middle ground between early adopters and mass market uptake. The guys present are leading in society on the key drivers of change we need to address. We are seeing these initiatives forging ahead with examples such as the recent US announcement on Staples, Coca-Cola and GE being among the newest clean fleets partners. I’m convinced there are ‘sweet spots’ where EVs work in all major fleets, from mobile offices and delivery services through to perk cars, where EVs make economical sense. But for me, the real winning comment out of yesterday, was hearing that the majority of companies see these activities as the future direction of travel and want to show their customers that they’re active in the Clean Revolution.’

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