Driving Electric Part 5 - Choosing The Right Electric Commercial Vehicles

12th Mar 2020

Electric van sales currently represent a tiny fraction of new LCV sales right now. However as more and more manufactures are introducing electric options, and we are bombarded with constant reminders of the UK’s ‘Road to Zero’ (where all new vehicles sold in the UK will be required to produce zero emissions by 2035) electric vehicles are no doubt going to play an increasingly important role in the UK LCV market over the next few years. 
 

Finding the right electric commercials for your fleet is set to become an even bigger consideration for fleet operators, especially as over two thirds of current EV registrations are for businesses or fleets. However, as concern about environmental pollution grows and the UK government is set to put both businesses and private individuals under increasing pressure to adopt e-mobility solutions. An electric van could be the perfect opportunity to cut running costs and these savings can make switching to an EV fleet an attractive proposition. But how do you know what is the right choice for your business?

Electric vans are getting better all the time, and while there have been a couple of staples around for the last few years, most notably the Citroen Berlingo and the Nissan e-NV200, progress in the electric van sector is moving quickly with Peugeot, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Ford and Renault all announcing new all electric vans coming within 2020/21.

Range is still a key concern and one we looked at previously in our post: Driving Electric Part 3 - Tackling Range Anxiety, and while a range of just over 100 miles doesn't sound like a lot, Renault has conducted research that reveals the average van driver covers about 70 miles per day. So, these newer electric vans should have range to spare, hopefully assuaging some fears for businesses who are starting to look at their switch to EV.

In this instalment we will be looking primarily at battery electric and hybrid LCV’s and;



What are the key considerations for electric LCV fleets?


Purchase price
– the technology used within EV’s is still in its infancy, and often made up of expensive components so while they are expected to come down in cost as more and more advancements are made, they will remain a costly option for a while in comparison of their diesel counterparts. It should be noted that They are usually cheaper to run, though.

Vehicle availability – One of the problems when electric vans initially was that there was barely any choice. This is no longer the case, with manufacturers producing more EV and hybrid vans, you can expect that choice to widen and get better as we move forward.

Performance – An unavoidable reality of all electric vehicles is that their batteries deteriorate over time and they gradually begin to hold less charge. You will find though that most battery packs are covered by extended warranties ensuring they can last for the working life of the van.

Range variance – the efficiency of an electric van as quoted by the manufacturer may not quite translate into the real world once external factors are taken into consideration. Just, remember range can be impacted by other factors, including payload weight and driving style but also type of journey and the weather conditions (EV’s are not a fan of the cold).

Access to charge points - will your EV fleet have access to charge points, is there space to park and are they easy and convenient to access during the working day?

Time to charge – this can vary, depending on the power of the charging system, but even in the best-case scenario it will take longer to recharge an e-van than to refuel a regular van. The quickest options would be DC rapid chargers that can give an 80% charge in around 40 minutes.

Workplace charging schemes - There are grants available towards the cost of workplace chargers. The Government based Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme that provides support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charge points. You can find out more about eligibility on the official UK government workplace-charging-scheme webpage.

The government plug-in van grant - The government plug-in grant discount for vans is worth 20% of the asking price, up to a total saving of £8,000. This discount applies to light commercial vehicles with a plug, including both hybrid and full-electric vans. You can find out more about eligibility on the official UK government plug-in van grant webpage.


The benefits for your fleet


Meet emissions targets
– electric vans produce no CO2 or NOx emissions. Widespread adoption has the potential to significantly improve air quality.

Corporate responsibility– help maintain a socially conscious image for your business, meet your corporate responsibility goals and attract new customers.

Convenience – electric vans have some convenience features not often seen elsewhere, with some able to set the air-conditioning to a preferred temperature while charging.

Running cost savings– typically e-vans are considerably cheaper to run than their diesel alternatives with the cost per mile of ‘fuel’ (electricity) lower and significantly reduced maintenance costs.

Congestion charge savings - being able to navigate Clean Air Zones (CAZ) and Ultra Low Emissions Zones (ULEZ) without charge can bring significant savings for businesses that operate within city centres.

Other incentives– free parking in many areas, exemption from the London Congestion Charge, and even free charging in some places.

Silence is golden– electric vans are much quieter than diesel vans. Making driving more pleasant for the driver, but also opens up opportunities for unsocial-hours services, where a conventional van might otherwise bring noise complaints.

Easy-going performance– electric motors deliver instant torque and get shifting smoothly, making nipping around town quick and easy.


What type of electric LCV is right for your business?

 

It’s important to identify exactly what you need from your vehicles and how you intend them to be used before looking at the different types available. If you fleet operates around towns and cities with really great access to charge stations then you will almost be spoiled for choice regarding the full electric options. However, if you are looking for vans that can cover longer distances or need to be able to transport a heavy payload, a hybrid van could be a better option in the interim, until full electric vans catch-up.

 

To really determine what are the right choices for your business it is best to seek advice from experts and to prepare for more detailed discussions and consultation around your fleet, perhaps ask yourself the following questions?

  • What type of journeys do you vans need to be completing? Are they short hops around towns and cities or longer journeys all over the UK?
  • Why sort of cargo is your fleet going to be transporting? Will it be heavy loads or lighter ones?
  • What sort of vans do you require? Are you after a panel van, platform cab or something smaller?Is there an EV or hybrid version of what you are looking for?
  • Are there going to be charging facilities at your fleet’s destinations or along their routes?
  • Is there enough time in schedules to factor in the time it takes to recharge?
  • Does your business have or is it able to install charge points at depots/head office etc?
  • Is the savings your business will make outweigh the additional time/extra resources needed to make the switch to EV right away? 

For more information, help and advice on the different types of EVs and hybrids available, and which may best suit your requirements you can speak to one of our Team by calling 01332 267367 following the link below:


Finding the right electric LCV's for your fleet

 

The choice of electric LCV's will likely expand over the next few years as the UK works towards it's goal of all new vehicles producing zero emissions by 2035 (possibly 2032). Here we have a few of our favourite electric and hybrid LCV's, some already available, some coming soon, all that could be a good fit for a variety of fleets or businesses.

Find out more about the different types of EVs available, and which may best suit your requirements by contacting us to speak to one of our Team for advice on the benefits switching to EV on 01332 267367 or email info.derby@pendragon.uk.com