The UK government has committed to the full conversion of its vehicle fleet to be zero emission by 2027.
The announcement comes as part of a joint commitment by international governments spanning the USA, Canada and Mexico, to fully convert their fleets to zero emission by 2040.
In total, nine national, regional, state and city-level governments have signed up to the Climate Group’s newly launched initiative – the ZEV Pledge – which collectively represent 121,355 vehicles on the road, with nearly a third of these being medium- or heavy-duty vehicles.
Trudy Harrison, UK transport minister, said: “At the recent COP26 summit, the UK made a number of ambitious pledges to decarbonise transport and it’s only right that we in government lead the way with our own fleet.
“We pledged a commitment in July to convert the government’s car and van fleet to zero emission at the tailpipe by 2027, and I look forward to joining the rest of the country, and our counterparts across the globe, in the switch to electric vehicles as we accelerate towards a greener future.”
The announcement of the first signatories to the ZEV Pledge comes weeks after COP26, where the declaration on zero-emission cars and vans was made.
Sandra Roling, head of transport at the Climate Group, said: “It’s essential we continue to build on the momentum for clean road transport following COP26, so I welcome the leadership we’re seeing today from governments who are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to their own vehicles.
“More than half a billion vehicles on the road are owned or operated by governments, public sector organisations and businesses. There is huge potential to use this collective purchasing power to drive the auto market towards a cleaner future.
“While supportive policy is important for enabling a faster shift to zero emission vehicles, governments at all levels also have a responsibility to lead by example by decarbonising their fleets. We hope to see many more governments join the ZEV Pledge in the coming months.”
Globally, fleet vehicles make up a quarter (24%) of vehicles on the road yet contribute to more than half (56%) of road transport emissions, according to the Climate Group.
Recent analysis by the Climate Group and Systemiq found that faster electrification of fleets could deliver “transformational benefits” for the climate, health and infrastructure, including saving the equivalent annual emissions of India by 2030 – the world’s third-highest emitter.
The launch of the ZEV Pledge for public fleets follows the growth of the Climate Group’s EV100 initiative, which focuses on building business demand for EVs.
To date, 120 multinational companies are part of EV100, including BT Group, LeasePlan and Siemens. Altogether they have committed to transitioning more than 5.4 million light duty vehicles to electric by 2030.
As part of the commitment, more than 9,400 locations will also have charging infrastructure installed, said the Climate Group.