A 2017 fleet market report by Sewells Research & Insight suggests fleet operators are falling behind on making necessary plans to adopt clean electric technology.

The report states that, as a result of proposals by Chancellor Philip Hammond to enforce stricter emissions laws, fleets who do not begin planning for the transition soon risk being left with depreciating diesel vehicles and a reduced capacity to meet rising demand for electric vehicles.

The author of the report, Mark Sutcliffe, said: 'At some point before 2020, the majority of fleets, especially those operating vans predominantly in urban environments, will need to formulate an emissions reduction strategy that will see them replace a proportion of their fleet with electric vehicles.

'Fleet managers who buy diesel vans from 2017 onwards may regret that decision when, come 2021, they are faced with offloading four-year-old vans that are restricted from driving in city centres and significantly more expensive to run than their latest electric counterparts.'

Industry experts present a growing consensus that the turning point for electric vehicle adoption will be seen by 2022. The KPMG global automotive executive survey of 2017 has reported 93% of automotive executives in the UK are planning to invest in electric vehicles in the next five years.

In the same survey, 90% state that they predict electric vehicles to command the marketplace by 2025. Furthermore, 62% of those executives view diesel as a 'thing of the past.'

While battery range continues to increase as manufacturing costs fall, and in addition to more legal disincentives for users of polluting carbon dioxide & nitrogen oxide emitting engines, it is accepted that the mass adoption of EVs will certainly arrive in the next decade. Yet despite this, the Sewells report indicates that only a small fraction of UK fleets have made the commitment to transitioning from diesel to electric.

Contradicting the growing industry consensus, the majority of fleet operators anticipate only a gradual uptake of EVs during the next decade. Shockingly, over half admitted they had little to zero understanding of electric vehicle infrastructure: no knowledge of Government grants, the range of EVs on the market, or the capacity of recharging networks in the UK.

Fleet managers due to defleet vehicles in the next four years should expect many of their vehicles to be replaced with electric alternatives. Fleet managers who are proactive in facing this strategic challenge will be rewarded in the electric-powered future that is projected.