Fleets are opening up their choice lists to increase adoption of electric cars, while limiting petrol and diesel options, to ‘nudge’ drivers towards zero-emission vehicles, says Arval UK.

The BNP Paribas owned company says it has been supporting organisations to revise their vehicle policies to include a broader choice of manufacturers, opening up access to more electric vehicles (EVs) and potentially speeding up delivery times in light of industry-wide shortages.

Ben Edwards, Arval UK Consultant, said: “We are at a point in time where there is considerable demand for EVs from fleets who are working towards net-zero targets and also from their drivers who want to minimise their benefit-in-kind tax bill – that’s a natural financial incentive to make the switch.

“However a potential barrier to adoption is that large numbers of fleets operate policies which are limited to specific manufacturers’ ‘badges’. This approach used to work well by concentrating buying power and simplifying choice lists, but really doesn’t offer drivers enough choice in the range of models which are available in the current EV market.

“What we have successfully been advising fleets to do is to keep manufacturer badge restrictions in place for petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid models, but open them up partially or completely when it comes to EVs – and this is something that has been working well.”

Edwards explained that there had especially been problems surrounding job-need cars and it was here that fleets had most to gain when removing badge preferences.

“At the prestige end of the market, which may be reserved for directors or senior staff, manufacturers generally have been able to offer more EV choices, but it is in the lower grades that the selection of models has been relatively limited.

“Here, by opening up choice lists, we are seeing some manufacturers make inroads into the fleet sector who have not necessarily been part of the core company car market in the past but are now able to provide strong EV models with comparatively good supply.”

Edwards added that Arval UK’s advice on EVs and choice lists consciously followed a policy of making electrification as simple as possible for fleets.

“As a company, we’ve consciously adopted a core message that EV adoption is simple, showing that if you look at whole life costs, an electric car is not only practical from an operational point of view – saving your driver considerable amounts in tax – but it also makes sense for the organisation, as whole life costs of EVs are often lower than a petrol or diesel equivalent.

“As we move beyond what you might call early adopter fleets into the mainstream, emphasising the core viability of electric cars alongside their obvious taxation and environmental advantages is the key to driving greater uptake. It’s all about making the electrification process both easy and effective.”