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SMEs strongly believe that businesses have a responsibility to switch to electric vehicles, according to research  commissioned by Cambridge and Counties Bank.

The vast majority of SME business owners (94%) believe UK businesses that use vehicles and wheeled assets have a responsibility to change them to electric vehicles (EVs) as soon as possible, with almost half (46%) believing this should be a priority.

According to the research, around a quarter (23%) of respondents said they were already in the process of switching to EVs, while a third (35%) said they are aiming to start the process in the future. Around a fifth (19%) said they will only do so at a time when the vehicles need upgrading and just 3% said they have no plans at all to switch.

To support UK businesses and SMEs to transition to EVs, Cambridge and Counties Bank now includes lending against electric vehicles as part of its green lending strategy and product suite. The bank has rolled out a dedicated campaign to support this initiative for UK businesses looking to move to EVs, this includes; no upfront fees, no document fees, deferred VAT payments, and payments deferred for the first three months.

The bank’s study found that, of the SMEs surveyed, 93% utilise vehicles in some form and of this number one in 10 (11%) already have a fleet consisting of a majority of electric vehicles. A further 77% expect to make the switch in the future.

The research comes in the wake of surging demand and use of EVs by UK households and businesses. The UK Government announced in late 2020 that cars and vans powered wholly by petrol and diesel will not be allowed to be sold in the UK from 2030 while a 0% Business in Kind (BiK) rate relief on EVs introduced in April 2020 is also expected to boost usage among UK firms.

Some 84% of SMEs believe that the introduction of the BiK relief will have a positive impact on take-up of EVs over the next 12 months. In addition, over two thirds (68%) “wholeheartedly” agree with the UK Government’s 2030 ban, with 28% believing that it should be moved forward to 2025 and only 3% believing it should be moved back due to it being overly optimistic.

Simon Hilyer, Senior Business Development Manager at Cambridge and Counties Bank, said: “Following strong uptake in EVs across the past few years, 2021 will likely see continued and profound market growth in the UK, whether in terms of cars, vans, fleets or larger vehicles, particularly as tax and political considerations fuel demand and manufacturers themselves focus production on EVs.”

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