Make the switch and ‘plug in’ says Venson Automotive Solutions.
Withmore than 96% of commercial vehicles on the road being diesel, businesses face a challenging journey to become a zero emissions operation but, according to Venson Automotive Solutions, fleet managers should now be considering whether plugin light commercial vehicles have a home within their operations, particularly those that operate in urban areas.
So-called ‘last mile’ delivery fleets, city centre courier companies, local authorities, utility companies, SMEs and sole traders are among those organisations who should turn to plug-in vans, believes Venson. With purchasing help from the government’s plug-in van grant, the price premium of electric models over petrol and diesel equivalents can be reduced.
Add in fuel and maintenance cost savings and the fact that electric vehicles are £0 rated for Vehicle Excise Duty – and if operating in London exempt from the congestion charge – whole life costs look far more attractive and potential a match for more traditional vehicle rivals.
Simon Staton, Client Management Director of Venson Automotive Solutions, explains: “Although the Government’s ambition for all new vans and cars to be zero emission is set against a deadline of 2040 – with the transformation to a wholly electric van and car parc expected to be completed by 2050 – fleet decision-makers should be future proofing their LCV decisions now.
“London has already seen the introduction of the T-Charge in a bid to drive down toxic emissions, and Oxford City Council has declared an intention to make its centre petrol and diesel free by 2020.
“With many more towns and cities across Britain also looking to implement Clean Air Zones in the not so distant future, those businesses that fail to modernise their fleets and look to the future may see themselves penalised when local charges kick in.”
Although the choice of plug-in vans currently on sale is minimal, an increasing array of 100% electric and plug-in hybrid models from mainstream manufacturers are due for launch. Currently Citroen/Peugeot, Iveco, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Renault are among the mainstream manufacturers that have plug-in vans on sale.
Renault is set to introduce a second zero emission model and new entrants are also coming from LDV, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen. Additionally, Ford will launch a Transit Custom plug-in hybrid fleet trial this year that is set to herald the showroom arrival of the vehicle in 2019.
Simon concludes: “It is critical that fleet decision-makers investigate the pros and cons of plug-in vans, compare and contrast with internal combustion engine rivals and then carefully marry that analysis to typical journey profiles and vehicle use. Plug-in vans are not going to be viable for all fleets and we’re not yet anticipating a wholesale switch over.
“However, for urban operations, 100% electric vans are an option and for fleets that require vehicles to undertake urban and some distance driving then plug-in hybrids may provide the solution.
“In all likelihood, it is possible that many fleets will discover that plug-in vans deliver a viable operating solution without any impact on business efficiency – and they may just save the business some money and well as supporting its corporate social responsibility program.”