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Five reasons to transition your organisation to electric vehicles (EV)

Our recent survey of 200 companies reveals their plans to invest over £12b in the next two years, an increase of almost 50% on the previous two years. In this article we outline the five reasons we believe businesses will benefit from this investment.

As we enter 2020 and prepare for the UK to lead the COP26 summit in Glasgow later this year, emissions from the transport sector continues to account for the largest proportion of carbon emissions (26%) in the country. Businesses have been responding to this challenge, already investing over £8bn in the last two years into the EV transition - with a further £12bn estimated to be spent in the next two years1.

Governments and local authorities continue to increase the pressure on organisations to address this challenge. The recent announcement in the UK that sales of internal combustion engines (ICEs) will end in 2035, five years earlier than previously targeted, and the growing number of cities with low-emission zones, is accelerating the need for business and the public sector to tackle this issue. In fact, 37% of businesses who responded to our survey sited government emissions targets as a key driver, but also reflecting their need to operate freely in ultra-low emission zones (37%).

The good news is that organisations can make a huge contribution to reducing the threat of climate change by transitioning to electric fleet vehicles, providing at-work charging for employees or turning parking lots into EV-friendly spaces - as well as unlocking a range of financial and brand-reputation benefits.

Here we review five of the most important reasons why organisations should be considering, and implementing, electric vehicles.

1. Become a more sustainable organisation

In order to become a more sustainable organisation reducing carbon footprint is essential. But meeting increasingly stringent environmental regulations, customer demands, and employee expectations means extending carbon reduction initiatives beyond ‘low hanging fruit’ measures, such as efficient BMS systems and and LED lighting.

By providing leadership in offering EV charging infrastructure and transitioning fleets to EVs, businesses and public bodies can play a major role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and inspiring wider EV adoption across society. Our 2019 Distributed Energy Future Trends report highlighted that ‘Being socially and environmentally responsible’ is now ranked #3 in terms of business’ main priorities for the next 3 years, up from #6 in 2017.

2. Reducing costs and improve productivity

Our recent survey highlighted business concern around the cost of transitioning to EV, with 44% worried about the cost of new vehicles and 37% about increased energy costs associated with at-work charging. The good news is that when taking into account the total cost of ownership, organisations can see significant savings when moving to EV. Businesses reduce fuel costs and can take advantage of low-cost distributed energy solutions, such as solar, to power their vehicles. While accessing government incentives and tax benefits is a priority for businesses looking at EV (68%)1.

Outside on-site solutions, energy cost can be managed with smart software that controls the load and utilisation profile of EVs to make charging more cost-effective, i.e. by charging overnight. Additionally, maintenance costs are also reduced as EVs are inherently more reliable than ICE vehicles. Since EVs have fewer mechanical parts prone to failure and often provide better data to enable more pro-active maintenance, they are less prone to breakdown. Implementing ‘at work’ charging for EVs can also help to improve productivity – charging happens while employees are at work (rather than requiring separate visits to petrol stations), and fleet drivers always start the day with a fully-charged vehicle – enhancing savings across your organisation.

Read our electric vehicle whitepaper to learn more about the benefits of transitioning to EV.

3. Enhancing your organisations reputation

Keeping up with shifting regulation is always a challenge for any organisation. Transitioning EV can proactively reduce the risk of falling foul of increasingly stringent government regulations, protecting your reputation. Already, 30% of Fleet Manager say they are considering EV adoption due to concerns over compliance with laws and regulations1.

And as consumers and employees increasingly focus on the environmental impact of the companies they buy from and work for, organisations switching to EVs can improve brand reputation by demonstrating green leadership and stronger sustainability credentials. While enhanced green credentials have been shown to bring related benefits, including improved customer loyalty, greater appeal to potential new recruits and better employee engagement.

4. Increasing employee satisfaction

Moving to an electric vehicle setup isn’t just for your business, but benefits employees as well. Smart-charging can increase driver confidence through convenient access to on-site charging facilities, encouraging uptake of EVs not only for fleets, but for person use as well. Enhanced experience for fleet drivers with better route planning to reduce driving times lowers commute costs, reduces risk of breakdowns, and manages range anxiety. Due to lower number of component parts compared with internal combustion engine vehicles, EVs breakdown less, keeping drivers on the road for longer.

More importantly, improved health and safety through better local air quality and less exposure to harmful NO2 and other pollutants is only one of the benefits for employees. Demonstrating a commitment to reduce your organisations carbon footprint impact from the daily commute or fleet has been shown to have a positive impact on employee engagement, improve your attractiveness as an employer and enhance retention.

5. Generate new sources of value

By implementing an EV charging infrastructure, consumer-facing businesses – particularly retailers and leisure companies – can monetise their EV charging facilities to create a new income stream. Having on-site charging is also likely to encourage customers to spend longer in-store, resulting in higher per-customer spends. Businesses that install local generation and storage infrastructure to support EV charging can also generate revenue through energy optimisation schemes, while also taking advantage of supply-side incentives.

1 - Shell: The Future of the Fleet 3. Electric &Plug-In Hybrid Charging Consumer Research 2018

Learn more about our new research into the electric vehicle ambitions of UK business.

How Centrica Business Solutions can help

Centrica Business Solutions’ integrated package of charging infrastructure and software, together with on-site energy solutions provides the expert support required to capitalise on the opportunity to move to emissions-free transport. We can provide the end-to-end support organisations need to use EV to benefit both the environment and their competiveness.

By combining our global expertise and technology, our new EV Enablement solution provides a single supplier solution for the electrification of entire fleets, and charging facilities at workplaces, bus depots, and in public spaces. We can provide complete life-cycle infrastructure and energy support – from charger procurement to optimisation services.

1 - Centrica research conducted by Ceolman Parkes between 25 November and 12 December 2019 - surveying 200 UK-based businesses with a turnover of more than £1 million.

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