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UK fleets are set to increase their investment in electric vehicles by 50% in the next two years, with firms expected to spend £12 billion in the next 24 months on EVs.

According to energy giant Centrica Business Solutions, in the two years since the Government announced a ban on the manufacture of petrol and diesel vehicles, businesses have spent an estimated £8.2 billion on EV adoption and over the next two years, this level of investment is set to increase by almost half (46%) – to £12 billion – as firms accelerate the introduction of electric cars and vans into day-to-day operations.

UK businesses plan to spend an average of 4.5% of their annual turnover on EV adoption over the next two years according to the data, with over a quarter (27%) of respondents to a survey expecting at least a fifth of the vehicles within their fleet to be electric by 2022.

However, firms consider the cost of EV adoption to be the biggest drawback to the technology despite clear business appetite to buy into EVs. Vehicle costs was a chief concern for 44% of all businesses polled, and of greater concern than range anxiety (42%) or the increased energy costs caused by charging vehicles on company premises (37%). The cost of staff training to operate EVs was also viewed as a drawback to adoption.

“There is clear recognition among UK businesses of the increasingly important operational role electric vehicles can play for them in meeting their decarbonisation goals. But concern is still widespread over how to finance this significant change, particularly for those with large petrol and diesel fleets,” said Alan Barlow, director UK and Ireland distributed energy at Centrica Business Solutions.“Vehicle charging is inevitably going to increase the amount of electricity businesses consume. It’s our view that onsite generation from solar panels, allied with battery storage and smart charging are the right option for many businesses to enable them to provide charging facilities without facing large increases to power costs and upgrades to their incoming supply.”