UK Power Networks (UKPN) has asked small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to express their future transport needs, as it seeks to develop a “White Van Plan” to assist them in making the switch to electric vehicles (EVs).

The distribution network operator (DNO) said it is keen to ensure that SMEs, which unlike larger firms may lack the time, resources or information to make the transition, are not left behind in getting the charging infrastructure they require.

UKPN said it wants to understand how best to support SMEs looking to invest in their first EV or electrify their fleet and has launched an online survey which is open until 21 December.

As well as informing the development of the White Van Plan, the DNO said the responses will also be used to investigate new smart charging solutions and free-up spare network capacity.

Ian Cameron, head of customer services and innovation at UKPN, said: “We know that small businesses will play a huge role in achieving net zero, and that each company is different with a unique set of needs and pressures.

“That’s why we’re asking small businesses owners and their representatives to get involved and tell us what help they need and how they work. That way, we can understand what the switch to electric vehicles might look like for the sector and develop products to support them.”

David Savage, managing director of Savage and Sons Electrical in Bedfordshire, who has already shared his views for the project, said: “I’ve been thinking about switching to electric transport for years. I firmly believe it’s an important step and it’s only going to become more necessary in the future.

“For small companies to be interested in EVs, it is vital they understand the potential financial benefits and get extra support, especially during the challenges we are facing right now. It’s great to hear about projects like this aimed at helping companies like ours.”

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