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The government has been urged to introduce a wide range of incentives to encourage corporate take-up of ultra-low emission vehicles.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), of which Activa Contracts is a member, has called on the government to:
• Introduce a workplace charging point grant scheme for plug-in vehicles – there is already one in place for home charging points
• Narrow the CO2 gaps between tax bands at the lower end of the company car benefit-in-kind tax scale
• Make a bigger commitment to in-life incentives for users of plug-in electric vehicles.
The trade association was responding to a report from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, which called on the government to provide greater support to the electric vehicle market.
The MPs in their report,‘Sustainability in the Department for Transport’ also suggested that support for fleet procurement of electric and ultra-low emission vehicles could come by underwriting risk or guaranteeing buy-back arrangements, as well as reform of company car tax and a workplace charging grant scheme.
BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said: ‘The committee is right to highlight the continued opportunities presented by ultra-low emission vehicles, and we agree that the government should further incentivise buyers to choose them.
‘The leasing sector is leading the way with the adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles. Some 4.2% of our leasing members’ vehicles are electric, and 3.7% of their new registrations in Q2 2016 were pure electric or plug-in electric cars. This is well ahead of the market penetration achieved across all new registrations.’
Mr Keaney added: ‘Our industry is determined to reduce carbon emissions. The committee believes the government won’t meet its 2020 target of 9% of all new cars being ultra-low emission vehicles, but we can report that 9% of BVRLA leasing members’ fleets emit less than 95 g/km CO2 already.’
But, he concluded: ‘Businesses will only be able to continue this growth with fiscal support from the government.’
The MPs’ report highlighted concerns that the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles like electric cars was too low to meet the UK’s climate change targets at the lowest cost to the public.
Committee Chairperson Mary Creagh said: ‘The government’s projections show they will miss the target for ultra-low emission vehicles to make up 9% of all new car and van sales by 2020, which the Committee on Climate Change says is necessary to meet our climate change targets in the most cost-effective way. The Environmental Audit Committee is also concerned that the department has no medium-term strategy to promote these vehicles after 2020.’
With the department’s forecasts suggesting it will get only around half way to its target, Ms Creagh continued: ‘This failure risks making it more expensive to meet our long-term carbon reduction targets. The department should also aim for almost two-thirds of new cars and vans to be ultra-low emission vehicles by 2030. With no strategy, we have no confidence that the department will meet this target.’
The government’s long-term aim is for ‘almost every car and van to be a zero emission vehicle by 2050’.