Over a third of SMEs plan switch to electric, research shows

By Anita Jaynes on 20 September, 2020

More than a third (37%) of companies with fewer than 100 employees either already operate or plan to adopt electric vehicles (EVs) within the next three years, compared to less than a quarter (23%) in 2019 according to the latest research released by the Arval Mobility Observatory.

The research – an annual report called the Global Fleet Barometer – found that interest in electric vehicles is growing rapidly among small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs). For plug-in hybrids, almost half of SMEs (46%) either already have them or plan to put them on fleet compared to just 28% in 2019 while, for hybrids, they were 45% this year against 37% in 2019.

Shaun Sadlier, Head of Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK, said, “These results show that UK SMEs are now even more motivated to adopt electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and hybrids than they were just 12 months ago.

“We have been saying for some time that 2020 would very much be the year during which electric power takes off for fleets of all sizes and these findings show that SME businesses are part of that trend, which helps to protect the environment and reduce emissions.

“There has been a very noticeable acceleration and the reasons for this are, we believe, quite clear. The tax incentives now available for company car drivers, especially the zero per cent benefit-in-kind rate for the 2020-21 tax year for battery electric vehicles, is a huge attraction.

“Also we are in the process of seeing a dramatic expansion in the choice of EVs available, especially among battery electric vehicles. Over the course of this year, the number of models available will increase but there will also be a better representation across more segments and price points.

“Finally, while there is still work to be done, the charging infrastructure across the UK is growing all the time, providing reassurance to drivers and their employers that these vehicles can be used practically on a day-to-day basis.”

Shaun said it was interesting to note that many businesses with which Arval work in the UK were now planning to move straight from petrol and diesel cars to battery electric alternatives.

He explained, “A couple of years ago, the received wisdom in the market was that both types of hybrid would probably serve as a transitional technology. Instead, the perceived hurdles to battery electric adoption have reduced to a point where they can meet the needs of a wide variety of drivers, although companies also recognise that hybrids and plug-in hybrids will have an increasing role to play in tomorrow’s fleets.”

Pictured above: Shaun Sadlier, Head of Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK