Retailers holding back on investment in Electric Vehicles (EVs), npower research finds


New research from npower Business Solutions has found that British retailers are holding back on investing in Electric Vehicles (EVs). Nearly half (49%) of the senior decision makers at British retailers interviewed for the study said that they will not be investing in EV technology and infrastructure until after 2025, 4% more than in British businesses overall. These respondents cited high installation costs (31%) and limited journeys due to battery life (29%) as the main barriers to investment.

The research has also revealed a significant knowledge gap around EVs. Over half (52%) of retail respondents said that they do not feel informed about the opportunities EVs could present for their business, and half (50%) of retailers said they feel uninformed about the technology EVs require to run. The latter is significantly more than average in UK businesses as a whole, which came in at 45%.

The research comes as Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a new set of measures in the Budget to boost the EV market in the UK. These measures include £400m to be invested in charging infrastructure, and a tax break for people who charge their electric vehicles at work.

Jason Scagell, director of vehicle charging solutions at npower, comments: “With UK retailers stalling in their EV investments, the government’s new infrastructure investment fund couldn’t have come at a better time. From here, it’s essential that government, business and the EV industry work together to highlight the benefits of EVs to retailers, and help increase their uptake. What’s needed is a clear EV strategy to help bring UK business transportation into the 21st Century.”

According to the survey, 37% of senior decision makers at retailers agree that providing electric vehicle charging facilities at their business sites would prove beneficial. The ability of EVs to make them more carbon efficient and improve their organisation’s CSR credentials were cited as some of the benefits.

“Sustainability lies at the heart of most retailers’ plans for the future,” continued Scagell. “Given retailers’ logistics requirements, EVs can play a hugely important role in reducing the industry’s carbon footprint, while helping companies meet their CSR and commercial objectives. That’s why we’re working with our clients in this sector and beyond to build clear strategies around EVs that will ensure they rapidly realise the benefit from their investment.”