Despite wanting to start the transition to electrified vehicles (EVs), some small and medium fleets are struggling to seize the opportunity – with 45% of fleet managers citing a lack of time or expertise needed to take the necessary first steps, according to research from Alphabet (GB).

Businesses operating small to medium-sized fleets account for the vast majority of the UK’s total fleet population and contribute significantly to meeting the upcoming 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles. 

Pressure to meet government and business environmental deadlines means demand for EVs is on the rise. However, navigating the rapid developments around EV implementation alongside other responsibilities places small and medium fleet decision-makers under increasing pressure.

Sustainable fleet

When asked about the importance of the fleet in meeting their company’s net zero targets, 79% of small and medium fleet managers acknowledged that it plays a key role. Employee perception and motivation have also become more of a driving factor, with three out of four respondents (76%) noticing an increase in the number of staff wanting to reduce emissions and drive EVs over the last two years.

As company cars continue to grow the EV market and product choice improves, EVs are becoming more accessible for small and medium fleets. In fact, 79% of fleet decision-makers agreed that there are more EVs on the market to suit their needs now. Despite this positive outlook, most businesses with smaller fleets are still in the early stages of making the switch. 58% of fleet managers reported that less than 20% of cars in their fleet were electrified.

Progress looks slower for vans, with 66% of these managers reporting that less than 20% of their van fleets have been electrified. Growing demand for EVs among employees, coupled with the upcoming deadlines will see fleet managers pressed to grow these proportions in the months and years ahead.

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By GlobalData

One vital aspect of advancing electrification further is moving beyond the ‘early adopters’. These are drivers that are deemed to be easier to transition due to having good access to charging and convenient routes for travelling in an EV. It is important that fleet managers gain a better understanding of the proportion of drivers that will be more difficult to transition, and how they can facilitate that move.

Roadblocks for adoption

According to Alphabet’s research, the biggest barrier to EV adoption for smaller fleets is not reluctance, but time and knowledge. Of those businesses that are yet to introduce EVs into their fleet, 28% said that whilst it is something they’re looking to do, they haven’t had the time. While 17% revealed it is a lack of expertise that is holding them back.

Embracing EVs brings additional challenges and factors for fleet managers to consider such as new policies, funding, and infrastructure. Managers who lack the necessary expertise or resource may need further support to help ease the pressure as they make this transition, especially as timescales shorten and deadlines approach. These decision-makers should lean on the knowledge of leasing providers to help ease the burden of keeping on top of the latest developments.

Mark Sturgess, SME sales manager, Alphabet GB, said: “Businesses with smaller fleets rarely have the benefit of a full-time fleet manager and instead fleet management is typically part of a much bigger HR, finance or general management role. As a result, the time available to dedicate to reviewing and addressing evolving external factors and fleet requirements is often limited and can be a stretch on existing roles within the business.”