FLEETCHECK Managing Director Peter Golding (pictured) reckons there is a fairly clear correlation between the 30 percent of van fleet operators who are enthusiastic e-LCV adopters, 30 percent are those who see electrification as inevitable and the last third who are determined to resist changing as long as possible. These ‘sceptics’, says Golding, are set to be a potential issue.
We all know about the major fleets that are buying hundreds of e-LCVs and blazing a trail, and there are those who are not enthusiastic but view the arrival of electric vans as something they just have to do.
However, he goes on to say that it is not difficult to find other fleets that are determined to drag their heels which he believes has potential implications for fleet van operations.
This is especially true among SMEs. It is not unusual to find vehicles that are six to eight years old and still in daily use. Even though diesel production ends in 2030, they could still conceivably be in use a decade later, which is highly undesirable.
While these sceptics are likely to change their view over time when they see other people successfully using e-LCVs, Golding believes that they are still likely to prove a potential drag on the overall move towards electrification.
Golding’s view is that a process of education alongside a range of operational and fiscal incentives and disincentives may be necessary to convince objectors to switch.
The main concern that I have heard from most electric van sceptics are about cost and range, and perhaps more needs to be done to show how these issues are being tackled over time. The installation of kerbside charging and the way in which the prices of electric vehicles should fall are important points, as is the potential for PHEVs as a stepping stone to 2030. Also, there will be operational disincentives such as the growth of Clean Air Zones and potentially market incentives such as ongoing vehicle subsidies and taxation measures. All of these have a part to play in changing minds.
Nevertheless, Golding adds that we also shouldn’t shy away from simply promoting the environmental benefits of van electrification.
It is very possible that within a few years, businesses seen to be using diesel vehicles will be viewed as out of touch by consumers, and there is every possibility that will equally apply to major corporations and small local companies.
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