Green enthusiasm needs government support, FTA reports

Jan 17 | 2020

Transport operators are among the first to identify the benefits of switching to electric vehicles (EVs), according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), with nine out of ten operators who are already using EVs planning to expand their fleets within the next three years.

Denise BeedellHowever, according to an FTA report released on 15 January, 2020, further expansion will require the government to urgently address the limitations which prevent wider adoption across the UK’s fleet.

Denise Beedell, FTA’s Policy Manager for Vans and Urban said, “While the report shows there is incredible determination to create positive change across the logistics industry, it also identifies significant barriers that remain, preventing further uptake.”

FTA is calling on government to address issues, including grid capacity constraints, as well as limited vehicle types and availability, if the roll out of the UK’s EV fleet is to continue.

The report outlines fleet operators’ frustrations with the limited vehicle-types available: 71% of respondents who decided against purchasing EVs cited this as the primary reason. For a number of years, FTA has urged manufacturers to progress the development of heavier EVs over 3.5 tonnes, as well as models such as tippers and pickups, and would like to see more definitive timelines from manufacturers as to when such vehicles will be available. In the meantime, FTA is asking government to recognise these limitations when implementing local and national policies on vehicle access.

Ms Beedell continued, “Operators also view grid capacity as a severe limitation to the ongoing shift to EVs; we believe they must not be expected to incur the cost of upgrading the electricity infrastructure. While businesses within the logistics industry are keen to play their part in reducing carbon emissions, the government must find a fairer way of funding the necessary grid upgrades, as well as ensuring on-street public charging facilities can be used by commercial EV operators, not just private cars.”

FTA’s survey was conducted across a range of fleet operators from small, local businesses to large international fleets. The guide can be accessed at

Photo: Denise Beedell