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New UK business group launched to accelerate switch to 100% EV sales

1 June 2020, 6:30 UTC 3 min read

Monday 1 June, London – The international non-profit The Climate Group is today announcing a new partnership with BT Group: the UK Electric Fleets Coalition, to promote a faster switch to electric vehicles (EVs). Incorporating Openreach, the digital network business, BT Group operates the second largest corporate vehicle fleet in the UK[i].

The UK Electric Fleets Coalition will convene a business leadership coalition to advocate for 100% EV sales nationwide by 2030, combined with targeted policy support to enable businesses to make the switch. The group aims to solidify commitments from senior government ministers to bring forward the UK target to end petrol and diesel vehicle sales and to make clean road transport a priority for next year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow.

The Climate Group’s global electric vehicles initiative EV100 is already seeing many leading businesses commit to 2030 and is calling for the government to match the ambition shown by BT and Openreach along with many others fleet operators.

Transport is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK and roadside air pollution causes thousands of premature deaths every year. A rapid transformation of the UK’s vehicle stock from internal combustion engine (ICE) to electric is a vital part of the solution for both public health and the climate emergency.

Philip Jansen, BT Group Chief Executive, said “We have an outstanding record in reducing carbon emissions and have plans to be a net zero emissions business by 2045. The switch to low and zero emissions vehicles is a key element in our carbon strategy and this new partnership will be critical in allowing us to make the switch. We hope that this coalition will help drive the necessary bold action from other businesses and policymakers needed to transition to the low carbon economy.”

Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group said: “Targeting 100% EV sales by 2030 is critical for hitting the UK’s net zero emissions goal and setting a powerful example of climate leadership to other countries as they prepare their coronavirus recovery plans and their climate pledges for next year’s COP26 summit.

“BT and Openreach are fantastic partners, not just making the commitment to transform their own operations to zero-emission solutions like EVs, but also making advocacy for the net zero transition a key pillar of their advocacy and campaigning work. We know there is broad appetite for this transition in the UK business community and we look forward to growing the Coalition and engaging with the government on this crucial issue.” 

Clive Selley, CEO, Openreach said: “With the country’s second largest fleet of vans, I want Openreach to play a leading role in the UK’s transition to low carbon vehicles. But there are still some major hurdles to overcome. For example, the kinds of vehicles, scale of manufacturing, supply-chains and infrastructure needed to electrify large fleets like ours simply doesn’t exist today. So we need Government support to make the transition faster and fuller, and the commitment to maintaining plug-in grants is a welcome first step.”

[i] BT’s combined commercial fleet (including Openreach vehicles) is approximately 32,500 vehicles, this includes approximately 2,000 specialist vehicles, such as hoists, poling and cabling vehicles, which are excluded from the ICE Phaseout Consultation.