Ecosystems are vital to the ecology of our Earth, its extraordinary biodiversity and human survival. Ecosystems are equally important for supporting a thriving economy. Where we have symbiotic businesses, they not only co-exist, but enhance and propel each other’s existence and growth.
We have long seen this principle at work in the UK economy, in industries such as life sciences, defence and car making.
We are now seeing ecosystem benefits in our ability to tackle and lead the decarbonisation agenda, particularly in the logistics and fleet sector’s transition to electric vehicles (EVs). After all, EV adoption only makes environmental sense if we charge the batteries from renewable power sources.
At Infinium, we have seen this first hand. As we expand across European markets, our customers’ take-up of EVs is limited by those markets where renewable energy is readily available. Two-thirds of Europe’s public chargers are concentrated in just five countries: the Netherlands, France, Italy, Germany and the
UK. However, as the UK and many European countries edge closer to their 2030 commitments and as cities continue to implement and expand low-emission zones, the transition to EVs becomes not just an ESG credential, but a competitive edge. There is only one direction.
We now face a once-in-a-generation transition of power consumption for vehicles from hydrocarbons to electric. If we do this well, we will capture this within real estate values: £60 of diesel spend per day on a fleet vehicle equates to £40/sq ft in rent as an opportunity. Disused or underused parcels of land across the UK can be turned into EV charging stations that serve local communities and logistics fleets alike.
The UK has built a terrific renewable energy ecosystem, but it also has the oldest energy grid in the world and access to power is holding back growth and EV adoption. Multi-energy hubs and a phased approach can help to overcome immediate barriers and create first-mover advantages. However, it is time the UK doubled down on renewable energy and infrastructure to support EVs.
In the face of a global energy crisis, this is one of the best possible beneficiaries of fiscal policy – supporting our economic autonomy and strength, as well as our planet. The government could take several significant steps to support this, such as favouring EV infrastructure and renewables through planning policy, taking giant steps to upgrade the grid beyond what has already been promised, and by extending tax exemptions for EV adoption.
Our future selves and our grandchildren will thank us for doing this – we will have a thriving economy built around smart industry and, more importantly, we will have a planet worth living on.
Phil Bayliss is European chief executive at Infinium Logistics
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