Centrica simplifies switch to EVs for UK businesses as spend increases

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As UK businesses align their operations with the government’s new decarbonisation policies, electrifying transport systems is expected to disrupt existing business cases and bring both opportunities and challenges to companies.

With businesses planning to embrace smart mobility by increasing their investments in electric vehicles (EVs) and associated infrastructure, UK utility Centrica has released a new e-book comprising guidelines to help companies mitigate disruptions and ensure business continuity as they switch to EVs.

The release of the e-book, Make sustainable transport a reality for your business, follows UK businesses revealing their plans to invest £15.8 billion ($21.9 billion) in EVs and charging equipment over the next year. This marks a 50% increase compared to the previous 12 months in which firms invested £10.5 billion ($14.6 billion), a study commissioned by Centrica Business Solutions has revealed.

Greg McKenna, managing director of Centrica Business Solutions, said: “Despite the disruption of the past year, it’s encouraging to see investment in EVs remain a key priority for many businesses. The fact that firms are planning to increase their spending so dramatically over the next 12 months is proof that more businesses are recognising the advantages of adopting low-emission vehicles, especially as they recover from coronavirus and seek to create sustainable growth.

“Now that 2030 is set in stone as the end of new petrol & diesel sales we need to ensure three things to help get us there, sufficient electric vehicles to meet demand, reliable charging infrastructure that’s available to all and a flexible energy system that can deliver green power where it’s needed.”

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In the e-book, Centrica discusses how businesses can:

  • Prepare for the phase-out of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles and the policy shift to sustainable transport
  • Build a resilient and cost-effective EV enablement plan while delivering flexibility and long-term value
  • Adapt energy supply to meet new energy demand needs affordably and sustainably
  • Leverage software and optimisation to control EV charge points, manage energy usage and improve driver experience.
  • Ensure the expansion of EV solutions and programmes

Lucy Simpson, head of product management for EV enablement at Centrica Business Solutions, adds: “Organisations must quickly adapt to the changing needs of their employees and meet the challenges this EV transition presents. Big questions to consider include: How will you ensure you have adequate charging capacity to meet your employee and customer needs? How will your sites cope with increased  energy demands?”

The survey found that up to 40% of surveyed UK businesses increased their EV fleets between April 2020 and March 2021 with 58% of these companies saying the need to meet their corporate sustainability goals was their biggest driver.

Four in ten UK businesses did not increase the number of their EVs whilst 10% decreased the size of their EV fleet citing range anxiety as their biggest concern.

However, 46% of businesses polled plan to address the issue of inadequate chargers by installing points on their premises, although more than a third have already installed this infrastructure.

Rachel Maclean, UK’s transport Minister, adds: “With British businesses set to increase their investment in electric vehicles by 50%, the message is clear – the future is electric. With generous government grants and tax incentives which could save drivers over £2,000 a year, there has never been a better or more exciting time to make the switch.”

The e-book is available for free download.