If all of Britain’s vans and HGVs were to switch to electricity, businesses could save over £13bn a year in fuel costs alone, according to a new report published today.

Hitachi Capital UK’s Future of Fuel report estimates that electricity would be approximately 15 pence per mile cheaper than petrol or diesel for vans, and 38 pence per mile cheaper than diesel for HGVs. Over the combined 65.7 billion miles commercial vehicles travel each year, the fuel savings would total approximately £13.7bn.

The report also reveals the results of a survey of 149 fleet professionals about their current use of alternative fuels and plans for the future. It finds that 62% of fleets now contain alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), with the most common types being electric and hybrid cars.

There is a strong will from fleet professionals to adopt green fuels, with 82% of those surveyed believing that it is important for fleets to move towards AFVs, and many doing so. With manufacturers improving technology and governments introducing new incentives, 42% of fleets plan to add more AFVs within the next two years. However, 28% of respondents to the survey said that their organisations should be doing more to switch to alternative fuels.

Fleets name infrastructure and vehicle costs as the biggest obstacles in the way of AFVs uptake. Other include electric vehicle range, as well as the availability of suitable gas and biodiesel vehicles.

However, most fleet professionals think that the introduction of Clean Air Zones – set to be introduced in Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton by the end of 2019 – should help. Almost two-thirds (65%) say it will make them more likely to use AFVs.

Jon Lawes, Managing Director of Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, said: “Fleets cannot afford to ignore the amazing potential of alternative fuels – and, thankfully, they're not. Our report shows that 82% of fleet professionals believe that it's important to move to AFVs. This number and many others from our survey are only going to keep on rising as the Government does more to encourage green motoring.

“However, our report also highlights a number of obstacles along the way – most significantly, infrastructure and the upfront cost of AFVs. These should be a focus of transport policy going forward.”

The full report can be read here.