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Fleets ahead!

Emerging pathways to decarbonise UK fleets

In less than a decade all sales of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK will be banned. Over that same period, we will see the number of electric vehicles (EVs) rise from some 300,000 today to an estimated 13 million[1]. Decarbonising transport is a critical component of our journey to Net Zero and it will happen at pace over the next decade.

But this transition does not just depend upon consumers. Around six million vehicles on the roads today are part of a vehicle fleet: delivery vans, buses, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and other specialist transport, operated by organisations of all sizes across the public and private sectors. If we are to achieve our ambition of being Net Zero by 2050, if not sooner, then these organisations will need to replace their internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles with low carbon alternatives.

Many fleet operators are weighing up the right time to begin this process. Move sooner, and the organisation may have to deal with challenges including a more restricted choice of vehicles and the need for a more bespoke charging solution. Move too late, and the organisation will risk brand damage relative to their competitors.

We spoke to 40 businesses from across the fleet industry in order to share best practice and lessons learned, in the hope that it can help fleet operators just starting out to accelerate and de-risk their journey.

In association with:

Field Dynamics logo
National Grid logo

A number of key findings

Of the sizeable and diverse segments that comprise UK fleets, vans represent the largest constituency with over 3.7 million vehicles. The next largest is company cars which the BVRLA estimates is some 1.8 million vehicles. In response to increasing government and regulatory pressure to accelerate decarbonisation, fleet managers are on a steep learning curve. Yet while all are on the same journey, only a handful of the companies we interviewed expect to make material progress by the end of 2021.

Local authorities are owners of potential charging estate, such as city center car parks, and they are able to influence on-street charging solutions. Workplace and depot charging will be a start, but with many employees unable to charge at home, access to public charging will be essential.

Local councils will be a key point of connection as corporates hone their fleet charging solutions. Local authorities are owners of potential charging estate, such as city centre car parks, and they are able to influence on-street charging solutions. Workplace and depot charging will be a start, but with many employees unable to charge at home, access to public charging will be essential.


[1] National Grid Future Energy Scenarios, 2021 - Leading the Way scenario

“Local authorities are important. They have a role to play as a safety net to ensure charging networks are established, especially in rural areas. Moreover, you need a blending of local authorities and the private sector, a hybrid model, to ensure charging infrastructure is effective.”

Fraser CrichtonCorporate Fleet Manager, Dundee City Council

Contact us

Matthew Alabaster

Matthew Alabaster

Partner, Strategy&, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7866 727124

Adrian Del Maestro

Adrian Del Maestro

Director of Research, Strategy&, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7900 163558

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