INNOVATIVE partnerships are helping Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions to accelerate the transition to vehicle electrification.

It has increased its electric vehicle (EV) fleet by 137% in the past 12 months as the business follows up on its pledge to electrify 100% of the 62,500+ funded car and small van fleet and 50% of the funded van fleet by 2030.

This year, in collaboration with Hitachi Capital Business Finance, it has struck a long-term agreement with GRIDSERVE Sustainable Energy, to build more than 100 rapid charging Electric Forecourts across the UK.

HCVS has announced profit before tax of £25.7m for FY19/20 – annual growth of 4%, and recorded a 19% year on year increase in net earning assets, operating 81,000 assets worth £1bn.

Continuing to grow in a competitive market, the business unit, a division of Hitachi Capital (UK), has improved its ranking in the top 10 largest leasing companies to 7th, and recorded the second largest growth of any of the top 10 providers during the year.

Starting the financial year in a strong position, HCVS won a £136m contract with Network Rail in May 2019 to manage the company’s owned and leased road vehicle fleet.

Meanwhile, the division’s market leading personal leasing offering grew by 20% in the past year, comprising over 26,000 vehicles, which are marketed both directly and through a network of brokers and dealers.

Continued investment in new technology and IT infrastructure has improved customer experiences and shaped the business for future growth.

This includes creating new core platforms and a number of customer facing digital solutions, including a driver risk management system and fleet utilisation portal, in partnership with Hitachi SIB (Social Innovation Business) to deliver unique fleet solutions.

Over the next two years HCVS said it will also become a centre of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) excellence as part of the Optimise Prime project, designed to address how the UK can manage mass adoption of EVs between now and 2030.

Managing Director Jon Lawes said:  “Over the past 12 months, we have cemented our standing as one of the UK’s largest leasing companies and continued our growth trajectory. This is largely down to the fact that we are unique in the market.

“We are the only company that offers a total asset solution to organisations across all industry sectors. We fund, design, build and manage vehicles to any specification, and operate some of the most complex fleets anywhere in the UK.

“We have a clear strategy to be leaders in the emergence of AFVs, delivering cost and environmental efficiencies and helping the UK to meeting its carbon reduction targets.

“Optimise Prime and our new partnership with GRIDSERVE are testament to this and it’s exciting to see how our expertise can contribute to developing the infrastructure required for electric vehicle adoption on a large scale, using sustainable energy.

“With our expertise across every vehicle type, HCVS is ideally placed to sustain our reputation in the year ahead as the UK’s car industry begins to bounce back now that lockdown measures are gradually being lifted.

“I’m also proud of how our team has come together during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing outstanding customer service and helping critical fleets remain on the move to serve vulnerable people.”