A recent survey from Fleet News suggests that more than a fifth of company car drivers are keen to have a fully electric vehicle as their next fleet car.
According to their latest poll, 21.4% of respondents want a purely electric vehicle, while a further 10.2% are seeking a plug-in hybrid.
These figures are somewhat surprising given that new car registration data from the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found that sales of zero emission-capable plug-in hybrid cars fell by more than a third (34%).
Of the year-to-date, sales of plug-in hybrids are down by 20.4% according to the SMMT, which puts this down to the “premature” cessation of incentives for buying alternative fuel vehicles by the UK government.
The government confirmed last autumn that the plug-in car grant would be slashed by £1,000 and would no longer apply at all to hybrid vehicles with a range of fewer than 70 zero emission miles from November 2018.
The UK has also experienced issues regarding the availability of alternative fuel vehicles, with some vehicle manufacturers battling to get their models retested under the new Worldwide harmonised Light vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) which was introduced for all brand-new models from last September.
The supply of batteries has also been an issue for some hybrid vehicle manufacturers, with demand from fleets beginning to outstrip supply to UK locations.
The SMMT revealed that manufacturers are putting significant sums behind the release of ultra-low and zero emission vehicles to the UK market, with at least 40 plug-in models now available to view in UK showrooms and a further 20 set to launch later this year.
Nevertheless, if the sector is to reach substantial levels, such as Norway’s plug-in market share which now amounts to almost half (49.7%) of the country’s entire car market, more measures and incentives are necessary to improve confidence among businesses and employees.
Mike Hawes, chief executive, SMMT, said: “We need policies that help get the latest, cleanest vehicles on the road more quickly and support market transition for all drivers.
“This includes investment in infrastructure and long-term incentives to make new technologies as affordable as possible.”
Some industry figures anticipate the use of more cash grants and tax deductions to drive similar take-up in the UK to Norway, at least in the short-to-medium term.