Van operators spurn zero emission alternative for operational reasons
SMEs operating van fleets are failing to get charged up by the idea of electric vans.
Operational issues – such as range, and charging points – are leaving SME van operators distinctly flat.
Out of 100 fleets questioned by MIB Data Solutions, an industry database provider, just 18 said that they were open to the idea of buying or leasing an electric van or car.
Key points cited by the SMEs that were contacted – who all operate fewer than 100 vans, trucks and cars – included worries over range, the lack of charging infrastructure and whole life costs. A typical comment was: “We have looked into it and it is just not cost effective, while range is an issue.”
Concerns were especially apparent among fleets that operated commercial vehicles of all sizes. One said: “Our vans cover too many miles. Also, there are not enough charge points locally, or indeed nationally.”
Among the 18 fleets that were more enthusiastic about electric vehicles, there still remain question marks over range and costs. One said: “We like the idea of avoiding the congestion charge and EVs would boost the green credentials of the company but we would have to be reassured about battery life and cost, as well as range.”
Nick Boddington, managing director of MIB Data Solutions, said that the results showed that there was already quite a high degree of awareness about EVs among the SMEs surveyed.
He explained: “Certainly, almost all the respondents seem to be aware of the key issues that surround electric vehicles such as range and battery life. It is a subject in which they are interested.
“What might make disappointing reading for manufacturers and the government is that, although they are relatively well informed, more than four out of five have already decided against EVs in the medium term.”
Mr Boddington added that one point of interest was that almost none of respondents in the survey mentioned the low day-to-day running costs of electric vehicles, and only a handful referred to the congestion charge.
He said: “This is something that those marketing electric vehicles might take notice of. Adding an EV to the fleet was seen by most of those in the survey as a green gesture. Few had considered the everyday cost advantages.”
Unlike cars, which have a £5000 grant available from the government, vans do not qualify for this green incentive.