Electrify Your Fleet: After successful year, electric vehicles remain in the headlines – even more so now that diesel and petrol cars have been branded significantly harmful for the environment. With air pollutions levels high throughout the UK, the government has committed to plans to ensure they reduce the level of pollution by 2040. For business owners, a fleet of reliable vehicles is a vital cog in the smooth running on 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 commercial van fleet.
But now is the time to consider a transition towards electric, with significant developments in the electric vehicle market, and as plans from the government begin to get rolled out across the country.
A selling sensation
2017 marked a record high for the electric vehicle market in terms of new registrations. Averaging over 4,000 new registrations per month, industry professionals are hopeful that progress will continue throughout 2018 with the air pollution implications 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.
A lack of choice in electric vans has previously limited the buying process for van drivers. However, most big automotive brands who 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 – meaning there is now more choice than ever before.
Since the market first launched, they have faced a number of challenges over the years – a criticism from drivers for the lack of charging points and the time it takes to charge and the limited mileage range. However, new developments suggest that the market could have finally beaten some of the challenges.
If progress continues for the market, there will be demand for an influx of rapid charging points. So far, rapid charging points are the fasted method to recharge your electric battery – taking just 20 minutes.
Thanks to a multimillion pound deal with ChargePoint back in May 2017, InstaVolt are installing at least another 3,000 rapid charging points across 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.
If developments from Nissan are anything to go by, the industry could be on the brink of improving mileage range industry wide too. The all new Nissan Leaf vehicle has just been launched on the market with double the mileage range compared to previous models – a significant indicator that the same can done in the pipeline for their electric van counterpart.
Clean Air Zone penalties
As part of the government’s long-term plan to improve the UK’s air quality by 2040, they have proposed plans to introduced Clean Air Zones into the most polluted cities across the UK. London and Oxford are amongst cities which are introducing Ultra Low Emission Zones and Zero Emission Zones to improve their air quality. Oxford plan to be the first zero emission city in the world by 2020. Other cities such as Leeds, Southampton and Derby are also amongst the cities who plan to introduce Clean Air Zones in their city centres.
Clean Air Zones mean that only ultra low emission or zero emission vehicles are permitted to drive through the area without paying toxin charges. Vehicles which 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 near future it is likely that the charges will be applied to all vehicles. Introducing electric vans to your fleet in the first stop to avoiding being affected by the toxin charges.
What do you think? Do the pros outweigh the cons for introducing a greener fleet?