The rise in commercial electric vans

The rise in commercial electric vans

February 12, 2018

The electric vehicle (EV) market has experienced continuous progress over the past few years, with 2017 marking a record year for new registrations. The success could be partly attributed to news that diesel and petrol cars have been branded significantly harmful for the environment. With air pollution levels high throughout the UK, the government has committed to plans to ensure it reduces the level of pollution by 2040. For business owners, a fleet of reliable vehicles is a vital cog in the smooth running of their business. However, electric vehicles have a level of stigma attached — a smaller mileage range, longer time taken to recharge and less charging points than petrol stations. It can seem like a no brainer to keep running with a petrol or diesel fleet.

But there is a lot more to be considered for the long-term. With significant developments in the electric vehicle market, and as plans from the government begin to roll out across the country, now could be the perfect time to start your fleet’s transition to electric or hybrid engines.

A record year for new registrations

Averaging over 4,000 new registrations a month, 2017 was a record year for the electric vehicle market, with the same progress expected to continue throughout 2018. With air pollution implications from petrol and diesel vehicles very much in the spotlight, ignorance and a lack of knowledge is no longer an excuse. The end of 2017 marked approximately 132,000 new electric car registrations and over 5,100 electric vans. This could be attributed to the government’s plans to clean up the UK’s air quality, or because there is now a better choice for van drivers and fleet managers.

The success could furthermore be attributed to the growth of choice for the market. Previously, there has been a limited selection for commercial van drivers, but there is now more electric van choice than ever before. Most big automotive brands, which have a recognisable name in the electric vehicle market, have a van counterpart on the market, too — Nissan, Renault, Peugeot, and Mercedes, to name a few.

New changes

The EV market isn’t new to facing challenges. The number of charging points, the time it takes to charge and the mileage range have always been setbacks for the market. However, new developments suggest that the market could have finally beaten some of the challenges.

Rapid charging points are currently the quickest ways to charge an electric vehicle — taking just 20 minutes to fully recharge. However, if progress continues, more rapid charging points will be required to keep up with the demand and appeal to drivers who need a quick charge. Thanks to a multimillion pound deal with ChargePoint back in May 2017, InstaVolt is installing at least another 3,000 rapid charging points in fuel station forecourts across the UK. In addition, researchers claim they could have developed an ‘instantly rechargeable’ method that recharges an electric battery in the same time as it would take to fill a gas tank — a solution to the biggest headache of electric vehicles.

Manufacturers are also contributing to industry improvements. Nissan has recently launched its new Nissan Leaf car with double the mileage range compared to previous models — a significant indicator that the same can be done for its electric van counterpart.

Avoid clean air zone penalty charges

In the lead up to 2040, the government is implementing clean air zones into the most polluted cities in the UK to reduce air pollution. London and Oxford are some of the cities that are introducing Ultra Low Emission Zones and Zero Emission Zones to improve their air quality. Oxford plans to be the first zero emission city in the world by 2020. Other locations, such as Leeds, Southampton and Derby, are also amongst the cities that plan to introduce clean air zones in city centres.

Clean air zones will limit the number of high-emission vehicles that can drive in city centres — ultra low emission vehicles and zero emission vehicles will be able to drive through zones for free. Vehicles that don’t abide by the zone’s emission standards will be required to pay a daily access charge to drive in the zone — failure to pay the daily toxin charges can result in a penalty charge being issued to the driver or registered owner of the vehicle. Although, it has not yet been announced what these zones will mean for commercial vehicles right now, in the future, it is likely that the charges will be applied to all vehicles. Introducing electric vans to your fleet will help prevent being affected by the toxin charges. An ultra- low emission or zero emission vehicle will be able to drive freely throughout these zones without daily charges.

What do you think? Do the pros outweigh the cons — are you ready to introduce an electric fleet?

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