Car hire firms promise substantial increase in electric vehicle numbers

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Vehicle rental and leasing firms have pledged to increase their fleet of plug-in vehicles from the current 50,000 to 720,000 by 2025.

The commitment was made by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) on behalf of its 900 members.

The sector is responsible for one in eight cars on UK roads, according to the trade body, and will therefore play a vital role in efforts to lower vehicle emissions.

A target of at least half of new car sales being ultra-low emission by 2030 was included in the Government’s recently published Road to Zero Strategy.

The BVRLA warned that its own pledge on plug-in cars such as hybrids and pure electrics depends on ministers providing more support for adopting the technology.

This includes bringing forward plug-in company car tax incentives from 2020 and providing more help to develop electric vehicle charging infrastructure for businesses looking to deploy large plug-in fleets.

BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “Over the last two decades, the fleet industry has embraced the introduction of emissions-based motoring taxes and used the incentives they provide to deliver a sustained and substantial reduction in CO2 emissions.

“Fleets are ready to make a large-scale transition to zero-emission motoring, providing that the Government can match their ambition with a supportive tax regime and more help with charging infrastructure.”

Alternatively fuelled vehicles such as hybrids and pure electrics held just 5.5% of the UK’s new car market in the first six months of the year.

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said the Road to Zero Strategy sets out “clear ambitions” to transform the way we travel.

He added: “We want to work in partnership with industry and businesses to make these shared ambitions a reality, so we welcome the commitment made by BVRLA today.”

When the strategy was launched, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said he wanted many more charge points installed across the country so it will be easier to recharge electric vehicles than to refuel petrol or diesel models.

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