UK businesses lead the way with their plans to adopt hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles over the next three years, according to new research by Arval. They are also in second place when compared to 12 other European countries when it comes to plans to use fully electric vehicles. The findings come from the 2018 edition of Arval’s Corporate Vehicle Observatory Barometer, research that covers 3,718 fleets. It shows that 32% of UK fleets are already using at least one alternative fuelled vehicle, with 25% adopting hybrids, 22% plug-in hybrids and 14% full electric. Within three years, fleets say that they expect this to rise to 61% overall with 53% hybrid, 46% plug-in hybrid and 42% electric. Enthusiasm for adoption is skewed towards larger fleets in all categories. For example, 4% of those with fewer than 10 vehicles are currently operating an EV compared to 35% of those with more than 50 cars and vans. Within three years, this is expected to rise to 30% of smaller fleets and 68% of larger ones. Shaun Sadlier, head of Arval’s Corporate Vehicle Observatory in the UK, said: “What we are beginning to see emerge here is perhaps the fuel mix of the future. As some fleets start to turn away from diesel, we will start to experience greater use of not just petrol but a range of alternatively fueled vehicles. “As expected, hybrids and plug-in hybrids are the winners here but, also, more than four out of 10 fleets expect to be operating a fully electric vehicle by 2021, which would mark a huge increase in EV sales compared to today’s levels. Part of this could be prompted by the type of EVs that emerge as, from 2020, we expect to see greatly increased ranges. “In the next few years we believe that fleets will start to gain a greater understanding of which fuels work best in certain types of application and this is something that our consultancy team are now handling on a daily basis. Advances in the technology itself will also make electric and plug-in vehicles a more viable option for many more businesses. “Why is the UK leading Europe in so many areas? There are several factors but, at the top of the list is a taxation regime that encourages low CO2 vehicles and the fact that we replace our vehicle more often than most other countries."
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