Corporate fleets hold key to successful EV transition, investors told

Investor engagement with corporate fleets could help meet Europe’s ambitious decarbonisation targets for the transport sector, according to new research from ShareAction.

ShareAction is urging investors to engage with companies to commit to 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2030

The registered charity works with investors, policymakers and individuals to tackle environmental, social and governance issues, and has published a report around the role of corporate fleets in accelerating the transition to EVs and their under-appreciated role as a demand driver for consumer EVs.

Its stats reveal that fleets make up 20% of vehicles on European roads, but cause half of the emissions from European road transport, as corporate vehicles tend to be larger and are driven for longer distances than private vehicles.

Moreover, by switching their fleets to EVs, corporates can accelerate the adoption of consumer EVS by driving down costs, building out charging infrastructure, increasing the size of the used EV market and ensuring supply of key materials for EVs.

While the European Union’s recent Fit for 55 legislative proposal calls for all new vehicles sold to be zero emissions by 2035, the package is not due to be ratified until mid-2022 and there are some concerns that attempts may be made to water it down before it passes to formal law.

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Given corporate fleets’ importance as first-movers, ShareAction is urging investors to engage with companies to commit to 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2030.

Ideally, it said, corporates should make their commitment through initiatives such as EV100, which allow progress to be verified and have the additional benefit of sending a demand signal to build wider momentum.

In particular, ShareAction urges investors to focus on French and German companies, given the two countries’ centrality to EU decision-making. It’s urged investor engagement with 15 key companies, which have been picked by the Climate Group’s EV100 team, based on their company size, fleet size, sector and influence in terms of brand recognition. These include firms such as Allianz, Axa, Continental AG and Deutsche Telekom.

The charity added that engagement on fleet transition is a win-win for investors, helping them meet their decarbonisation targets while directly benefiting their holdings in companies with large fleets and indirectly benefiting other parts of their portfolio, such as holdings in the BEV supply chain.

Jana Maria Hock, senior research officer, ShareAction, said: “With nothing to lose and much to gain, engagement on corporate fleet conversion should be the next priority topic for climate-conscious investors.”

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