Procurement support for the move to zero emission vehicles


Enthusiasm to adopt electric vehicles is high in the public sector, but unlocking the road to electrification can often seem daunting. Rachel Hughes from Crown Commercial Service explains what procurement support is available

With the future and speed of recovery within the fleet industry still unclear, it's fair to say the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), and the resulting lockdown, has been dramatic: global vehicle production has halted - reducing the capacity of service, maintenance and repair services.  

As the industry slowly starts to restart, one green shoot of recovery is electric vehicles. The uptake of which is anticipated to grow at a faster rate than previously predicted due to the positive effect lockdown has had on air pollution levels.

The continuing introduction of Clean Air Zones across the UK, the fast-approaching Government Fleet Commitment deadline for Central Government fleets, Benefit-In-Kind incentives for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) and the maintained focus on sustainability will continue to support the growth of ULEVs and the phasing out of internal combustion engines.

Public sector fleets are now reviewing and aligning their fleet policies and determining what their future fleet profiles will look like, to make sure they can adapt to the radically different world the COVID-19 pandemic will result in.

This presents the public sector fleet with a great opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint by optimising vehicle usage and transitioning to ULEVs.  

Although the electric vehicle revolution is upon us, there are still many barriers that fleets need to overcome to make it a reality.  Motivations are clear and enthusiasm is high, but unblocking the road to electrification can often seem a difficult and daunting task.

Where to start?

The first step for fleets is to understand what vehicles are required and align them with the business need. They also must ensure that there is access to adequate charging infrastructure.

CCS are here to support public sector fleets on their journey to electrification with a wide range of products and services to ease the transition to electric.


The use of telematics can be critical in developing a business case and building confidence around the decision to go electric.  Data-driven intelligence can help fleet managers understand the dynamics of their fleet and make informed decisions on the transition to electric, ensuring they can demonstrate suitability, return on investment and support the optimisation of an electric fleet once in place.  

The newly launched CCS framework for Vehicle Telematics & Hardware Solutions (RM6143) provides access to 19 suppliers across two lots offering a range of products and services to help effectively manage a fleet.

Charging infrastructure

Access to charging infrastructure is a central consideration and a crucial factor in supporting the uptake of electric vehicles. As well as taking into account operational fleet needs, public sector organisations will also need to think about home-based and public charging solutions to support the wider transition for workers and citizens. It is, therefore, fundamental to identify and engage with key internal and external stakeholders such as estates and sustainability teams and landlords. Our suppliers can support you by providing consultancy services and feasibility studies that will define issues such as the energy supply and any groundworks that may be required. Once the charge points are in place, a strong ‘back office’ system is needed to support the full end-to-end service.

The CCS Dynamic Purchasing System for Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Solutions (RM6213) went live in May and provides access to the installation of charge points for public sector fleets and their workforce, home charging and vehicle charging facilities for the general public.

Vehicle Supply

As the number of electric vehicles (EVs) available in the market grows, fleet managers need to identify the model that best matches their operating requirements and driver needs. They also need to ensure that they are achieving value for money. Although purchase costs for EVs are higher, running costs are lower, meaning that the Total Cost of Ownership must be considered. A key element in this calculation is the residual value. Demand for EVs will increase over the coming years, and residual values will continue to improve and evolve to position themselves ahead of diesel and petrol models. This will also be reflected favourably in the lease rentals.

The CCS Fleet portal

The CCS Fleet portal is a digital platform that provides access to all vehicles available on the UK market, allowing users to search for vehicles by filtering key criteria such as fuel type, body style and emissions. There is also the option to view up to 3 vehicles side by side and compare the associated technical data. The new Worldwide Light Vehicle Harmonised Testing Procedure (WLTP) figures testing CO2 and MPG on real driving data are included within the technical vehicle data. The Portal, however, is not just a search engine. All vehicle quotes reflect the Vehicle Purchase framework (RM6060) discounts and provide live quotes to support direct award options.

For those fleets who lease their vehicles, the Fleet Portal is also a quoting tool. It creates a competitive environment for the lease providers on our Vehicle Lease, Fleet Management & Flexible Rental Solutions framework (RM6096) to return real-time quotes against the customer's usage and payment profiles. This drives best value for the customer and provides high-level, whole life cost calculations to support their decision making.

For shorter-term requirements, or as a potential option to ‘try before you buy’, flexible rental is also an option worth considering and this is available within Lot 4 of RM6096.

Fuel Cards

The move to EVs needs to be supported by a suitable payment mechanism that is agnostic to the many different charging units that are on our public roads. The CCS Fuel Cards and Associated Services framework (RM6000) is here to help customers easily procure alternative fuels by providing access to more than 7,000 electric charging points and over 7 hydrogen locations. There are several suppliers to choose from, with each having benefits in terms of network access and commercial pricing (including commercial benefits/savings).

Suppliers also make available management information to customers to help inform their fuel strategies, identify increased benefits/savings, forecast budgets and provide emission reports.

CSS Fleet team: here to help

At CCS, we offer Total Fleet Solutions. An end-to-end service that ensures that we can meet your diverse needs, regardless of size or sector.