Over the next three years, 58% of commercial finance brokers expect strong demand for electric vehicles (EVs) from UK business, according to new research from Cambridge and Counties Bank.

The study, which investigated sentiment towards EVs, also revealed that a further 30% anticipate demand will increase significantly.

The most in-demand vehicle is expected to be the electric taxi, according to 65% of respondents, following by company cars and Light Commercial Vehicles, cited by 63% and 57% respectively. Almost 60% expect to see strong demand for electric fleets.

Concerning the drivers behind such demand, 71% of respondents deem government legislation to be crucial, while six in 10 associate the increase with falling operational costs. For 48% of brokers, the surge in demand is attributed to more attractive pricing.

The introduction of the Benefit in Kind (BIK) rate relief on EVs, introduced last April, has also had positive repercussions for usage amongst UK firms. As firms take advantage of the BiK, the data revealed that 46% of brokers have witnessed an increase in demand from businesses.

According to Simon Hilyer, senior business development manager at Cambridge & Counties Bank, the firm is “well-positioned to cater to the demand,” having launched a campaign to support UK businesses looking to move to EVs. This initiative includes no document fees, deferred VAT payments, and payments deferred for the first three months.

Amongst British SMEs, 94% believe the British business with vehicles have a responsibility to make the switch to electric as soon as possible, with half deeming this to be a priority.

Explaining the role of firms in widespread EV adoption, Hilyer said: “UK businesses will be core stakeholders in the rapid switch to EVs over the next decade, particularly as costs come down and EVs become more efficient. SMEs and businesses are also likely to see EVs as part of a wider move towards better corporate responsibility – which for many will also be a key competitive differentiator.”

To support the transition, Cambridge & Counties Bank now includes pure electric vehicles (as opposed to hybrids) within its green lending strategy and product suite.

Hilyer concluded: “Through our dedicated lending products and recognition of EVs as a new asset class, we are here to help UK businesses, and the brokers that support them, to capitalise on this shift in the most cost-effective and straightforward way.”