18 July 2019

With the rise in electric vehicles and the continued focus on reducing carbon emissions, it should come as no surprise that the UK Government has their own plan on how to revolutionise the UK roads. 

In this article, we explore what the Road to Zero strategy is, what industry thought-leaders think about it, and what it means for corporate fleets. 

What is the Road to Zero strategy?

Their plan, named the Road to Zero strategy, has the long-term ambition of putting the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles, and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040. 

The aim is for a minimum of 50% and preferably as many as 70%, of all new car sales to be ultra-low-emission by 2030. The strategy also applies to new vans, with the goal set at 40%.

It is part of the Government’s drive to increase take-up of electric vehicles and has been hailed as one of the biggest changes to the automotive industry since the combustion engine was developed.

In 2018, Chris Grayling, secretary of state for transport, said: “The coming decades are going to be transformative for our motor industry, our national infrastructure and the way we travel. We expect to see more change in the transport sector over the next 10 years than we have in the previous century.

Electric car driving along a tree-lined road

“We are expecting our economy and society to experience profound change, which is why we have marked the Future of mobility as one of the four grand challenges as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.

“The Road to Zero Strategy sets out a clear path for Britain to be a world leader in the zero-emission revolution - ensuring that the UK has cleaner air, a better environment and a stronger economy.”

How will they achieve their goals?

According to the Road to Zero plan, the Government will:

  • Increase the supply and sustainability of low carbon fuels in the UK through a legally binding 15-year strategy to more than double their use, reaching 7% of road transport fuel by 2032.
  • Take action against garages offering the removal of emissions reduction technology, working with the DVSA, VCA and industry to ensure our regulatory and enforcement regimes give us the levers we need to tackle this problem.
  • Extend the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) beyond buses, coaches and HGVs to include vans and black cabs.
  • Take steps to accelerate the adoption of fuel-efficient motoring by company car drivers, businesses operating fleets, and private motorists. 

Illustration of car blowing leaves instead of smoke

What does this mean for fleets?

The major aspect of the Road to Zero that businesses are going to have to contend with is the upgrade of their existing cars to Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs), and establish whether they have the capacity to introduce the charging infrastructure needed to cope with electric vehicles.

At the same time, they will also have to consider the current mileage of their existing vehicles. For example, fleet managers may have to identify mileage patterns amongst their workforce and see whether they are suited to electric vehicle use. 

By 2040 electric vehicles may have developed to have longer ranges than they currently do, but there is no guarantee that this will happen. 

It’s important for fleet owners to start planning ahead as from 2040 the UK will no longer sell new conventional petrol or diesel cars or vans as part of the Road to Zero Strategy and the Air Quality Plan. 

Working to upgrade fleets gradually over the next decades will help businesses to plan, budget and meet the targets, without incurring a major fleet upgrade cost all in one go so it is important for fleet managers to start planning today.

 

Further reading

 

In summary, the steps that the Government plan to take will obviously have a huge impact on the fleet industry in the years to come. Businesses of all sizes need to establish now how they are going to adjust their corporate vehicle policies, and whether they are going to invest in new technologies now to future-proof their company.

To find out more about our fleet management and leasingemployee benefits solutions and driver services, call a member of our team on 0844 854 5100 or email CSalmon@sgfleet.com.  


 

Electric vehicle driving along road with windmills