Businesses invest in greener vehicle fleets

Electric trucks and charging station. | Newsreel
Australian businesses are increasing their investment in electric vehicles. | Photo: Scharfsinn 86 (iStock)

Australian businesses are turning their fleets green with a threefold increase in investment in electric vehicles over the past 12 months.

New Commonwealth Bank (CBA) data shows a record number of businesses were financing greener assets, with electric vehicle fleets up by 325 percent and hybrid motor vehicles up 120 percent.

CBA Executive General Manager of Business Lending Grant Cairns said small businesses were leading the way, with electric vehicle financing up 346 percent in the sector.

The data shows Australian businesses, in general, have stepped up their investment plans over the past 12 months, despite the slowing economy.

Mr Cairns said there was a 22 percent uplift in vehicle and equipment financing compared to the same period last year.

“Manufacturers are also stepping up their investment in new assets, with a 24 percent jump in funding of manufacturing and industrial equipment such as manufacturing lines, forklifts, and scissor lifts.

“Funding activity has been particularly strong among regional manufacturers and agribusinesses (up 42 percent year-on-year), led by purchases on moulding machines, packing and cutting machines, silos and other food manufacturing machinery.”

Mr Cairns said the broad-based increase reflected post-Covid business growth as well as businesses evolving their models to invest in energy efficiency improvements.

“Business confidence remains strong despite economic headwinds from higher rates and inflation, and we are seeing growing investment in assets across agriculture and manufacturing, supported by an improved supply chain landscape in a post-Covid world,” Mr Cairns said.

“Companies are also stepping up investment in the energy transition, with more businesses looking to improve their energy efficiency through equipment upgrades or the increased adoption of electrified transportation and replacement fleets.

“Part of this shift is driven by customers taking advantage of government rebates and subsidies and looking at longer term actions to reduce costs and demonstrate returns on investment.”