VAN fleets operating parcel delivery services are the key to the take up of electric vans.
Leasing and fleet management company Arval believes that the operational nature of these fleets, and the nature of zero emission or low emission electric vans, are essential for electric vans to get off the ground.
Simon Cook, LCV Leader at Arval said;
“The current limitations of electric vans – which surround range and weight of payload – do not really apply to parcel delivery fleets operating in urban environments.
“Certainly, we are seeing courier, home shopping and parcel delivery operations become the main early adopters. A number of these fleets are operating vehicles, essentially on a trial basis. How they perform over the coming months is going to be the key to whether electric vans become a serious fleet proposition.”
Simon said that it remained essential that the electric vans on offer continued to be developed intensively by manufacturers, especially when it came to hybrid technology.
“The fact is that, even for parcel delivery fleets, range remains an issue. We need to be moving towards the 200-300 mile range that is now being seen with some cars.
“In some key respects, we believe that the real breakthrough will come with the availability of diesel-electric panel vans. Because these should offer the torque that pure electric vans lack, they will be viable for a much wider range of fleets.”
Simon added that Arval had some operational experience of electric vans in the long term and was confident in their longevity.
“We have a Ford Transit Connect conversion that have been in operation with a customer for six years now and, even though these are relatively basic vehicles compared to the latest generation of ECVs, they remain viable as everyday vehicles.”
Arval recently produced a guide to ECV operaton. Called “Delivering the Future: A Guide to Operating Electric Vans”, it is designed to provide expert guidance for organisations that are considering adding electric commercial vehicles (ECVs) to their fleets.